Avoid Stained Teeth from Braces
One of the hazards they forget to warn you about is that you can sometimes get stained teeth from braces. Although this is a fairly common issue, it doesn’t receive much air time. If you notice staining on your braces, there are steps you can take to correct or lessen the problem.
Why Do I Have Stained Teeth from Braces?
When you have brackets and wires on your teeth, brushing is naturally more difficult. As a result, you may experience plaque buildup. This is a substance that sticks to your teeth as a result of eating or drinking. Since you can’t avoid eating or drinking, you need a little extra diligence to combat the plaque.
If left untended, plaque will harden, turning into tartar. Tartar often has a brown or yellow coloration and can cause demineralization. If left untreated, demineralization can affect the enamel on teeth and cause cavities. Sugary food accelerates the process, which is why oral hygiene is so important while wearing braces.
Preventing Stains While Wearing Braces
Aside from brushing and flossing, which we will discuss shortly, there are a few things you can do to prevent or limit staining while wearing braces.
Rinsing with plain water regularly throughout the day, but especially after eating or drinking is the first line of defense. Whether you have a soda, coffee, or other beverage, swishing a little plain water will help flush remaining sugars and loose food particles. This is not a substitute for brushing and flossing. It is merely a step that will help.
When you had your braces put on, you should have received a list of foods to avoid or limit. While many of the items on the list are there to avoid damaging your braces, some are there because they stick to braces and teeth and may cause problems. Among the things to avoid are sticky, sugary, starchy, and chewy foods. You should also avoid hard candy, fruits, and veggies.
Brush up on Your Oral Hygiene
Don’t neglect your regular dental checkups. Your dentist and their staff know how to clean around your appliances. It is important, especially with braces, to maintain optimum oral hygiene. With that said, another reminder about your daily oral hygiene is coming up.
While wearing braces, you should try to brush after every meal. We know that isn’t always possible. If you are unable to brush, you should get into the habit of rinsing with plain water. This will remove loose food particles and provide some assistance until you can brush properly.
Use a soft-bristle brush and a non-whitening toothpaste with your braces. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle from your gumline. Using back and forth strokes, brush the areas above, below, and over your brackets and wires. Use small circular motions over each bracket to remove stubborn food particles. Be sure to rinse and spit out the toothpaste.
These tiny brushes are invaluable while wearing braces. They are tiny enough to fit under your wires and allow you to clean well along the edges of your brackets.
Interdental brushes are not a substitute for flossing.
Flossing for the Win
Flossing with braces can be tricky at first. Once you learn the technique, you’ll be able to breeze through regular flossing easily. You should floss at least once daily. Using a floss threader will help guide the floss around your wires so that you can reach the gum line around each tooth.
Flossing removes more plaque buildup than just brushing. It is an important part of your oral care routine that should not be neglected.
The Hazards of Whitening Toothpastes
We briefly mentioned that you should not use whitening toothpaste while wearing braces. The reason is that it will whiten your teeth. Unfortunately, the whitening agents won’t reach the area where your brackets are affixed. When you have your braces removed, you will likely have small squares of discolored teeth.
To avoid that, simply switch to an ADA-approved, fluoride toothpaste without whitening agents during your treatment.
When the Braces Come Off
When your braces are removed, you will likely get a little shock at the appearance of your teeth. They will be straight and you’ll have a beautiful smile, but you may see some discoloration from the braces.
If you have been doing your part with proper brushing and flossing and keeping your regular dental checkup schedule, you may not have much staining. Because there are so many little nooks and crannies with braces, missing a spot or two is quite normal.
You can use teeth whitening methods to remove the staining and return your smile to pristine whiteness.
Teeth Whitening After Braces
Teeth whitening can be accomplished in several ways once your braces are removed. There are inexpensive, in-home methods such as strips and trays. You can opt for a dentist-supplied in-home tray kit, which is a bit stronger than the over-the-counter versions. Although a bit more costly, an in-office procedure is the quickest way to brighten your smile.
If you are interested in tooth whitening procedures, discuss them with your dentist or orthodontist. They may have recommendations that will help.
Skip Stained Teeth from Braces with Invisalign
If all of this just sounds like too much hassle, even to get a perfect smile, there is an alternative. Braces treatment with Invisalign clear aligners. No brackets. No wires. No dietary restrictions. No need to learn new brushing and flossing techniques.
Invisalign is a system of clear tray aligners that work to straighten your smile using gentle pressure to move teeth into alignment. Patients wear the trays for 20 to 22 hours each day. The trays are removable for oral hygiene, drinking, and eating. While oral hygiene is still a prime component of Invisalign treatment, it is much easier than with traditional braces.
Because there are no wires and brackets, Invisalign is a more comfortable treatment method. The trays are nearly invisible, so patients can continue their normal busy routine and most people won’t even realize they have braces!
Ready to Get Your Smile Looking Pristine?
Pitner Orthodontics is a Diamond+ Invisalign provider. That means they are in the top one percent of all providers! Dr. Leslie Pitner and her team are ready to help you discover your perfect smile. Simply begin with a Virtual Consultation or make an appointment at one of their three convenient locations. Your initial consultation is complimentary too. That is a $249 savings!
Check them out on Facebook and Instagram.