Some people think that braces leave behind white spots on teeth. The truth isn't quite as black and white as that. If you've been holding off on getting braces because you're worried about this, then read on to discover what's really going on.

What It Is

Those white spots aren't actually stains or discolorations. They're sort of like baby cavities, where the enamel of the tooth has been worn away just a bit.

What Causes It

The main factor that causes this isn't the braces, but the care that the teeth receive while you have braces.

Plaque and tartar can build up on braces if they aren't well taken care of when doing your daily oral hygiene maintenance. As a result, the braces bracket essentially acts as a support for the plaque to chip away at the tooth around the edges of the bracket. If this goes on for long enough, it can cause the discoloration you're thinking of, or even a full-fledged cavity.

Age Bracket

Are you an adult? Then you probably don't have to worry about this problem at all. This is a condition that primarily affects people who had braces when they were children. This is because children tend to take worse care of their teeth than adults. Oral hygiene probably wasn't at the top of your list of priorities when you were a kid, right? So as long as you maintain your adult oral hygiene care for yourself now while you have braces, with a combination of home care and dental care from your general dentist, chances are you'll be fine.

How to Avoid It

There are a few things you can do to increase you risk of emerging from your braces with brilliant, shining teeth.

First off, always brush and floss. Ask your general dentist how often you should do it - it might be more than the recommended twice per day once you have braces.

Secondly, carry an interdental brush with you. When you eat at work or on the go, excuse yourself to the bathroom and quickly brush around the edges of your braces brackets. This will loosen and remove food debris before it can fuel bacteria and create plaque.

Third, consider using an extra tool in your oral hygiene routine like a water flosser. Water flossers are excellent at blasting away plaque and can reach the nooks and crannies of braces that can be difficult with a standard toothbrush.

Fourth, plan on seeing your dentist more often than usual. They're the only ones who can blast away tartar and prevent these stains from happening once plaque progresses to that stage.

With these tips, you're sure to have the same sparkling teeth you do now when you have your braces taken off. White spots on teeth do happen to some people, but if you act like your oral health is important to you, you're unlikely to get them yourself. Talk to a dentist for more help.