My family's dental health is important to me. Unfortunately for me, it is not as important to my little ones. Getting my kids to brush and floss on a daily basis is almost like taking on an obstacle course. I talked to my family's dentist about different methods I could try to encourage them to brush and floss on a regular basis. Some of the tricks worked, some did not. After some experimentation and talking to other parents, I was able to come up with a lot of great tips for helping kids care for their teeth. I started this blog to help other parents get creative when it comes to their kids and dental care.
After you get your braces removed, you may notice white spots on your teeth called white spot lesions. Acids left behind by bacteria breaking down sugar in your mouth dissolve calcium and other minerals out of your teeth if they're left in contact with the surface of your teeth for too long. White spot lesions then show up due to demineralization under the tooth's surface enamel. They're common in areas where it's difficult to brush plaque away, like around the brackets and bands of your braces. Fortunately, there are treatments available for white spot lesions, but you'll want to treat them within 6 months to get the best possible outcome.
Prescription toothpastes containing CCP-ACP, a milk-derived protein that releases calcium and phosphate to tooth surfaces, are some of the best treatment options for white spots. The CCP-ACP, combined with fluoride in some toothpastes, helps the teeth remineralize, which will reduce the appearance of white spots. Chewing gum containing CCP-ACP is also available to use between brushings.
Some dentists also offer in-office laser treatments to prevent further demineralization and stop cavities from developing. High doses of fluoride can also help prevent white spots from getting bigger, but in some cases the white spots can turn brown due to the high-dose fluoride.
Microabrasion helps minimize the appearance of white spot lesions by removing a very small amount of enamel from the teeth. Most patients see improvement after a single microabrasion session. Following the treatment up with teeth whitening or bleaching can reduce the white spots even more, but most people who have white spot lesions need a stronger bleaching solution than what is available in over-the-counter whitening products.
A procedure called caries infiltration is another highly effective method of making white spots less noticeable. During the treatment, your dentist will inject a liquid resin under the surface enamel of any teeth that have white spot lesions. The resin is mixed to match the color of your tooth surrounding a white spot to blend in. After the resin is in place, your dentist will use a light to cure the substance, making the resin harden and take on a more translucent appearance, like healthy enamel.
Good dental hygiene and regular visits to your dentist and orthodontist can help prevent white spot lesions from forming while you have braces. Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, taking care to clean around your braces with a floss threader or a water flosser, and visit your dentist every 6 months for a thorough cleaning and checkup.