We’ve heard that if you have braces, you have an increased risk of cavities. But there are so many different types of cavities. Today we will talk about what cavities you’re most at risk for if you have braces. These cavities occur and some new tools can help prevent these cavities from even occurring.
There are two main types of cavities that I generally see most often in orthodontic patients. These cavities most often occur in between the teeth or around the bracket. These are the most common types of dental decay I see in orthodontic patients. But there’s also a level of severity of these decays. If you have early signs of a cavity, what can happen is what’s called a white spot lesion. I’m sure you have seen these on social media or maybe your friends have them or maybe you have them. What happens is when you take the braces off, you see these white stains around the brackets. These things are called white spot lesions. They’re areas of the tooth where you have over-white plaque material in the tooth structure and this is a sign of early decay. This occurs because the enamel rods the structure that makes up your teeth. The minerals were pulled out of that with some sort of acid and that’s because of all the plaque that could have accumulated on teeth while you’re in braces leading to these early cavitations, which are called white spot lesions.
A lot of these are not reversible. They’re not going to go away on their own. You need some sort of dental intervention either the dentist can infiltrate a resin, you could get a filling a veneer, or something to change it. But these white spot lesions generally do not go away on their own. A little bit more severe from a white spot lesion and this occurs in between the teeth is an actual cavity, which means like a hole. This is a hole in the tooth that’s caused by that acid pulling away the minerals from the tooth, the enamel layer, and penetrating into the two the most common areas for cavities with braces are in between the teeth or around the bracket. But there’s also a level of severity: you can have early demineralization, which is that white spot lesion that you see staining around the brackets or you can have a full-blown cavity, which requires a filling.
What causes this? Why are these cavities more commonly seen in orthodontic patients?
This is because of an increased amount of plaque in the mouth while you’re going through orthodontics. You shouldn’t have more plaque in your mouth while you’re going through braces. But it’s a lot harder to maintain good hygiene and that’s why I talk about it so much. The way it works is that areas that have the most plaque, which is the bacteria being built up and not being cleaned off of your teeth. The bacteria basically creates a little home, which brings more bacteria and creates a bigger home. The more and more of this plaque that you have, every time you eat something sugary or drink something acidic, it digests it and gives off acid and acid can actually pull the minerals away from the tooth causing these early decays like white spots lesions, or full-blown cavities.
The best way to manage not getting cavities is to have proper plaque control and good eating habits and drinking habits. The goal of all the products we’re going to talk about is to remove away that plaque from the teeth, making it so that your teeth and gums are healthy so that you prevent or minimize the risk of getting cavities. There are two ways to do this: the physical removal of the plaque and chemical supplementation, which helps make the tooth and gums stronger and healthier. They go hand in hand. if I had to rank one as being more important, I would say the physical one is more important. Chemical adjuncts like toothpaste and mouthwashes.