Orthodontic treatment with short-term braces is a major investment in your future. In a few months, you hope to show off your straight teeth and improved smile. But the excitement of getting your braces off can be dampened by discovering that you have stained teeth.
Although some people are concerned that wearing braces can cause their teeth to discolor after the treatment, there are a number of ways to prevent teeth staining while wearing braces and to whiten teeth after the braces come off.
Causes of staining when wearing braces
There are several reasons why your teeth may become stained when wearing short-term braces. Generally, braces comprise brackets and wires that hide food particles, causing bacteria that cause plaque to build up. So, it is not the braces themselves that cause teeth discoloration, but the film of plaque that you allow to form due to poor oral hygiene.
Indeed, wearing braces makes it hard to properly remove plaque, which causes bacteria to accumulate in the mouth and increases tooth demineralization. Demineralization of tooth enamel causes white spots to form on the tooth surface in areas that are hard to clean, and increases your susceptibility to tooth decay and gingivitis when wearing braces.
So how can you prevent staining?
It is hard to maintain proper dental hygiene and completely get rid of plaque when receiving orthodontic treatment. But you can still prevent tooth discolouration by:
This is recommended for everyone, regardless of whether or not you’re wearing braces. However, it is particularly important for people with braces to ensure that they don’t allow food and drink particles to remain on their teeth and crevices for long as they get harder to remove, increasing the risk of stains. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and regular toothpaste, as whitening toothpastes cause more harm than good.
Your orthodontist will give you guidelines on how to ensure proper oral hygiene when wearing braces, including how to use a special kind of floss for braces in combination with mouth rinse. Floss and mouthwash allow you to reach places that the toothbrush cannot reach and eliminate germs that linger between the teeth and appliances, reducing the risk of discolouration.
You should be careful about what you eat when wearing braces, to not only avoid damaging the orthodontic appliances, but also avoid staining your teeth. Coloured foods, such as soda, coffee, wine, and even tomato paste, can easily stain the brackets and your teeth, so they’re best to avoid. If consumed, remember to wash your mouth out with water immediately after.
Lastly, keep your scheduled appointments with your orthodontist. During these appointments, your orthodontist changes the ligatures or rubber bands around the brackets to reduce the risk of tooth staining. The check-up also presents a great opportunity to detect any problem areas and recommend a timely remedy, such as heavy-duty cleaning.