We see many young adults who are troubled by the “bracket scars” that remain from their time in braces or traditional wire orthodontics. There are many suggested methods for preventing that initially, but if you are beyond that point and want to remove that marks of enamel demineralization, there is hope, and it is not what you think.
We often remind patients that as much as what we know has changed over recent decades in dentistry, that some basics have not changed. The equation for caries is still the same:
BACTERIA (STREP MUTANS) + SUGAR ==> ACID
That acid, when left in place, demineralizes the enamel matrix, which then can allow for the development of dental caries. In order to prevent dental caries, you must prevent the demineralization. In order to prevent the demineralization, you must remove one of the pieces of the equation. A study produced by the independent research group TRAC (Technologies in Restoratives and Caries) found that 4 of 5 products on the market made statistically insignificant improvements to the “bracket scars,” in regards to visible demineralization. Prevident 5000 (a prescription 5000ppm fluoride toothpaste) came out on top as the most effective, but even then only in a percentage of cases.
WHERE’S THE HOPE?
It lies in this. Amongst the control group, when demineralization was considered to be “mild,” the appearance of the white lesions diminished ON THEIR OWN with proper and consistent hygiene following removal of the braces! There are other studies that have been run on the significance of fluoride, and it still remains our best defense against the formation of caries, but in a podcast that I had recently listened to, Dr Christensen had made a very valid point. In order to legitimately control the INFECTIOUS & COMMUNICABLE disease of dental caries, we must control one of the pieces of the above equation. And since that bacteria, if it is now a part of your flora, isn’t going anywhere, we must control the sugar in our diets.
The long and short of it is that, in order to prevent demineralization and caries, BACK TO THE BASICS, floss and brush properly and every 8 – 10 hours~