A picture is worth a thousand words! Unfortunately, we see this one too often in Orthodontics. Straight teeth with scarring after removing the braces. Even after twenty plus years of straightening teeth I still get sick to my stomach when I remove braces and find scarring or white spots. Why does it happen? How can we avoid it?
BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND STOP DRINKING SODAS! No way to sugar coat this. Not that we want to sugar coat anything when we are talking about tooth decay! Seriously, almost every soda I know of has some form of acid as one of the ingredients. Phosphoric or citric acid. Would you drink a bottle labeled Phosphoric Acid? Of course not. Well, when you grab that Coke or Pepsi, you do drink it. Read the ingredients. Diet soda also contains acid. I have had patients admit to drinking four or five sodas a day! If it destroys the enamel, imagine what it is doing to the rest of your gut.
“But, I drank sodas before braces and didnt have any problems? It must be the braces.”
Well, it is the combination of braces and soda/hygiene. The braces act like a sponge and hold the soda against the tooth, much like a blanket holds sand at the beach. When you suck on three or four sodas a day, the teeth are constantly being exposed to an acid bath. The braces hold the acid, and the mouth is unable to neutralize or self clean around the braces. This constant acid bath starts to create scars around the braces. The lack of brushing allows plaque (bacteria) to grow, and the high fructose corn syrup (a fancy name for sugar water), which most sodas contain, is the food for the party. Guess what the bacteria excrete (go to the bathroom)? Acid. The acid eats away at the tooth and allows the bacteria easy access to cause decay. It is a terrible cycle that ends up with rotten teeth.
How do you prevent this? Brush your teeth several times a day, making sure you get all around the braces (see picture below) and cut out the sodas. If you drink a soda and cant brush right away, try and wash your mouth out with water, to help get rid of the acid.
I know I sound a bit harsh in this blog, but this problem is 100% preventable. So when you hear me fuss about brushing and sodas, please understand that I have seen that first picture too many times over the last twenty years. Like all the other animals on the planet……drink water!
Thanks for reading.