Preventing White Marks On Your Teeth During Orthodontics

White Spots on Teeth After BracesEveryone has bacteria in their mouth. Dental plaque forms in your mouth after eating and the bacteria live a very good life in the plaque. Dental plaque is sticky and attaches to the teeth. Once the bacteria living in the plaque eats the sugars in your diet, they produce more of themselves and give off acid. The acid begins to eat away at the enamel on your teeth creating a white spot.

These white scars are actually the beginnings of a full blown cavity and they are permanent damage to the teeth. No one wants to have straight teeth that are scarred with white marks. Your orthodontist can only do so much to prevent the decalcification process that causes these white marks. The only thing that can prevent them completely is to clean off the plaque consistently and thoroughly after meals. Dig with the bristles of your toothbrush under the wire and in between the teeth, wire and gums.

Be somewhat aggressive, remember this plaque is sticky and takes a little bit of elbow grease! After brushing and flossing inspect the teeth for any debris and revisit any areas that are not pristine. If there is no food or plaque on any surfaces of the teeth you can feel secure about the job you did. Consistency is key! Keep those choppers clean and healthy and you should not have to worry about white scars!

The History of the Toothbrush

Cup with toothbrushes and toothpaste. Ancient civilizations used a "chew stick," which was a thin twig with a frayed end. These 'chew sticks' were rubbed against the teeth.

The bristle toothbrush, similar to the type used today, was not invented until 1498 in China. The bristles were actually the stiff, coarse hairs taken from the back of a hog's neck and attached to handles made of bone or bamboo. YUCK!

Boar bristles were used until 1938, when nylon bristles were introduced by Dupont de Nemours. The first nylon toothbrush was called Doctor West's Miracle Toothbrush. Later, Americans were influenced by the disciplined hygiene habits of soldiers from World War II. They became increasingly concerned with the practice of good oral hygiene and quickly adopted the nylon toothbrush.

Some other interesting toothbrush facts:

  • The first mass-produced toothbrush was made by William Addis of Clerkenwald, England, around 1780.
  • The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth, (patent number 18,653,) on Nov. 7, 1857.
  • Mass production of toothbrushes began in America around 1885.
  • One of the first electric toothbrushes to hit the American market was in 1960. It was marketed by the Squibb company under the name Broxodent.

Retrieved from:, The Library of Congress