There are two negative aspects of orthodontic treatment: enamel demineralization and heightened bacterial activity in the mouth. Our previous piece was about the latter of these problems, so this shall be dedicated to the former. We will talk a little about demineralization - why it happens, and more importantly what you can do to reverse the negative effects of demineralization of tooth enamel. So get ready to remineralize your teeth!
Braces demineralize teeth in two ways. The first is the regular, bacterial way: the bacteria that live in the mouth secrete acidic by products that dissolve the bonds between fluoride and calcium molecules (the basic building blocks of your tooth enamel), and thus the enamel is dissolved. But orthodontic brackets also dissolve enamel and leach fluoride and calcium from the teeth. This is why when braces are removed the tooth surfaces where the brackets were may have white spots. This is because the enamel is thinner there, and the thin layer appears white. These spots are much more likely to become cavities, to break and to cause trouble in general.
After the fact
If the braces come off and you are confronted with white spot lesions on your teeth, what can you do to make sure these do not turn into cavities? The most common thing to do is to try and remineralize the areas. There are fluoride gels, foams and ointments, and you should buy some prior to the braces coming off. By leaving the fluoride rich solution on the tooth surface, the fluoride and calcium will bond with the other fluoride molecules on the tooth surfaces and create tooth enamel. So just apply the solution to the spots and do not wash them off. There are instructions with each kind of gel and foam, and you should also ask your dentist what sort of treatment s/he recommends.
Aside from using fluoride products to remineralize your teeth, you also have the option of eating foods that are rich in calcium and fluoride. Usually the two methods together will yield the best results, as many times the fluoride that is absorbed intestinally will also be used to make enamel. So eat and drink plenty of dairy products in the time after your braces come off. You’ll be smiling with comfort and ease in no time.