Avoiding white patches (decalcification)

If you have finished with your orthodontic treatment and are wearing retainers (or will be soon), this is a special place to connect with others in your (enviable) situation. Ask a question or make a comment about life post-braces.

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Avoiding white patches (decalcification)

#1 Post by Dottiinbraces »

Hi there,
I had ceramic upper arch fitted today. My questions are to those who've had successful treatment and have no obvious visible marking on their teeth. Can you talk me through your cleaning routine?
I'm reading conflicting info that whitening toothpaste is bad as it will whiten the area round the brackets and when the brace comes off there will be obvious differences where brackets were?
I'm told by ortho assistant not to use electric toothbrush but others seem to with no probs.
Do you brush every time you eat or just mealtimes? Do you drink alcohol? I been told any fizzy juice is bad as it decays enamel, happy to reduce intake but kind of need some Tonic with my Gin on holiday! Will I be ok if I clean properly morning, night and after meals? Is wine ok?

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Re: Avoiding white patches (decalcification)

#2 Post by Catpotat »

Hi there! I haven't been debraced yet so I'm not sure if I have calcification marks, but my dentist commends my oral hygiene. Hopefully I can be of some help.
Brush with soft manual toothbrush and regular toothpaste.
(Night only)- Floss. Quickly brush some more toothpaste around and use piksters/interdental brush to clean between brackets.

I tried to brush after every meal but got lazy. Morning and night is still good if you clean thoroughly. Try to get a professional clean at least every 6 months.
You can eat and drink pretty much anything including alcohol, fizzy drinks and wine in moderation; just be sure to always follow it up with water. Stay away from popcorn and very crunchy chips, I've had brackets pop off. But don't let braces prevent you from enjoying life! Good luck :)


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Re: Avoiding white patches (decalcification)

#3 Post by Snowglobe32 »


I had my braces for almost 4 years and I had no white marks at removal. I had self-litigating ceramic on top and metal on the bottom.

I use a electronic toothbrush. My routine was to floss, waterpik, brush, waterpik again and then mouthwash. I flossed/brushed after most meals and always drank through a straw. I think you will be surprised how your teeth look once the braces are off. I thought for sure after almost 4 years, I'd have problems but almost 5 years later and everything is still good.

My ortho and my dentist are down the street from each other so one thing I did was to schedule cleanings with my ortho appointments if I could. I'd stop by the ortho, they would take the wires out, off to the dentist I went and then back to ortho after the cleaning.

When I had powerchains (off and on throughout treatment) I'd take the powerchains off every week to clean. I don't recommend this in the beginning because it can be tricky to learn to do it successfully without breaking the chains. My assistants would also give me extra chains to replace on my own.

I would recommend buying a set of dental appliances. They usually consist of 2 scrapers and a mirror. You can buy them at most drug stores. You'd be surprised at the amount of plaque that builds up around the metal brackets, mostly the bottom. I would hold the mirror to see the bottom of the brackets and scrape off the plague. The brackets are like magnets, everything sticks to it. I am not sure this would work with only ceramic though...

I don't drink alcohol or fizzy drinks but know that anything sugary can damage enamel and cause cavities so use a straw or swish with water afterwards. If you have powerchains or ties, everything has the potential to stain. Just don't swish that kind of stuff around your mouth.

I also read to wait 30 minutes after you eat before brushing. Acidic foods can cause enamel to wear off if you brush right away.

As for whitening toothpaste, it really doesn't do much. Anything you buy over the counter usually isn't strong enough to cause a difference in appearance.

Good luck! I hope I provided some helpful info for you!

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Re: Avoiding white patches (decalcification)

#4 Post by Tgannon2 »

Great question! Not sure if you've gotten your braces off yet, but my normal cleaning routine was pretty simple.

I used that little proxy brush above, below and on both sides of each bracket as much as I could. Then, I would floss. For brushing, I would never brush in a circular motion...instead, I would brush the top part of the teeth and then the bottom part.I still am brushing my teeth like this after the braces came off as I find it cleans more tooth surface than the usual circular motion. I was just debraced two days ago and am happy to report that I have zero white patches or staining on my teeth. Even after not following my routine so diligently and drinking coffee 1-2 times a day!

Oh, I also used sensodyne toothpaste (non whitening), but every now and then I would use a whitening toothpaste if I felt like it. I'm waiting for my teeth to heal before I go to get them whitened, so right now I'm still doing my 'braces routine', to keep everything clean.

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Re: Avoiding white patches (decalcification)

#5 Post by djspeece »

My oral hygiene routine involved brushing after every meal (I have an Oral B electric brush at home), and at least once a day using an interdental (Christmas tree) brush dipped in Listerine as my "flossing" routine. I also had a waterpik that i used at home to blast away debris before I used an interdental brush. I had a portable waterpik that i used in the office. That always got a lot of sidelong glances in the restroom. One of my colleagues was teasing me one day, and I looked up with a confused look in my face, removed the waterpik tip from my mouth and said "Did you say something" as I soaked him with the remainder of my water (just an accident, of course :roll:). I had travel toothbrushes and small tubes of toothpaste stashed everywhere -- my cars, office, luggage, you name it. I drank coffee as normal. I drank alcohol as normal (I just thought it was mandatory with braces :lol: ). I used whitening toothpaste which didn't do a thing, as far as I could tell. I did not have any spots when I was finally debraced after 3 years. My orthodontist shared an office (part time) in my dentist's space, so my cleanings were scheduled on days that he was in and his techs could remove my archwire. When I was debraced, my dentist made a whitening tray for me without charge, and gave me some really excellent whitening chemicals. I did not do anything involving dental tools at home.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. -- Buddist saying

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