Many a New Year's resolution revolves around cutting added sugar out of one's diet. It's a good goal! Not only for your entire body, but for your teeth as well. Sugar – and other foods – cause bacteria in your mouth to produce acid, as they essentially feast upon the food debris on your enamel. It is this acid that causes tooth cavities. Sugar can come from all types of simple carbohydrates, not just candy and soda.
If you have braces, or if you will be getting braces soon, they can be a great motivator for consuming less sugar. Perhaps you've come across images of unsightly white teeth stains on orthodontic websites. These pesky spots are caused by the same acid that causes cavities. It decalcifies the surface of your teeth, which is what leads to the white stains.
Decalcification stains are difficult and often impossible to reverse, but they are completely preventable: Always practice good oral hygiene, including when you are wearing braces. Poor oral hygiene leads to the buildup of plaque, and plaque contains bacteria and the acid they produce. When you have braces, inadequate hygiene can lead to plaque buildup around the perimeter of the bracket, which is why in many of those photos you see the stain bunched around a square patch of clean enamel (where the bracket was). But with good teeth cleaning, you are combatting and reducing plaque buildup.
When people discuss reducing or eliminating treats when you wear braces, it is to further prevent the chances of plaque buildup. And a healthy diet certainly reduces plaque risk, but remember to also combine it with brushing and flossing.
Want to learn more about life with braces? Please call experienced Denver orthodontist Dr. Robert Rudman at 303-331-0222. We look forward to speaking with you!