Avoid going through the experience of having your braces removed only to discover that your teeth aren’t bright and white, as you thought they would be, but instead are discolored by following these dental tips. Each of these dental tips, if practiced throughout your entire orthodontic treatment, will help minimize tooth staining and discoloration.
Ditch the Whitening Toothpastes
Many people assume that using whitening toothpaste will help avoid unsightly stains and discoloration that can occur while wearing braces. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happens.
If you used whitening toothpaste while wearing braces, once the braces are removed your teeth will appear to have visible spots. This happens because the brackets on your teeth prevent the whitening toothpaste from being able to reach certain parts of the teeth. The toothpaste actively works to whiten the surfaces of the teeth it can reach but leaves the covered areas untouched which results in large, visible spots once the brackets are removed.
Work to Stop Bad Habits That Stain Teeth
Keep your teeth as bright and white as possible by working to quit smoking or chewing tobacco. These bad habits would stain your teeth even if you weren’t wearing braces, but the staining is worse with braces.
Just like with whitening toothpaste, the tobacco will stain only the parts of the teeth that are not covered by brackets. When the brackets are removed, the exposed parts of the teeth will have a brown or yellow tint while the parts of the teeth that were covered with brackets will either appear white or a lighter shade of yellow or brown.
Choose Your Drinks Wisely
A major cause of staining and discoloration while wearing braces is the drinks you consume. Drinking certain dark colored or acidic drinks will dull the original color of your teeth and cause them to appear discolored.
Drinks that you should avoid consuming include:
- Dark colored teas
- Sodas especially if they are brightly colored
- Wines – both red and white
- Sports drinks
The best drink to consume is water or milk, but it is unrealistic to believe that you will only consume these two beverages. If you do feel like consuming any of the beverages that may cause staining and discoloration to your teeth, use a straw. Drinking through a straw will minimize the amount of contact the beverage has with your teeth which will reduce the likelihood that staining and discoloration will happen.
Avoid Sugary Treats That Use Artificial Coloring
Food manufacturers tend to use artificial coloring in snacks and sugary treats. While the bright colors may attract your attention and make you want to try a sugary treat or snack, it can cause your teeth to become discolored and stained, especially if you are wearing braces.
Try to avoid all sugary treats and snacks that contain any type of artificial coloring. It may be difficult to avoid your favorite treats and snacks, but doing so will help keep your teeth bright and white.
Follow a Good Oral Hygiene Routine
It is tempting to want to avoid brushing and flossing when you are wearing braces, but if you want to keep your teeth white and bright it is something you need to do on a regular basis.
A good oral hygiene routine will typically include the following:
- Brushing after every meal
- Brushing after snacking
- Flossing not only between your teeth but around the wires and brackets
- Removing bacteria and buildup on the tongue by brushing your teeth or using a tongue scraper
- Take your time so your teeth are thoroughly cleaned
- Clean the back, front, and sides of your teeth
Schedule Regular Cleanings with Your Dentist
Regular professional cleanings are so important when you are wearing braces. Not only will it keep your teeth and gums healthy, but it will remove any staining or discoloration that has appeared before it has a chance to set and become permanent.
Regular cleanings should be scheduled every three months when you are wearing braces. After the braces are removed you may only need cleanings every six months.
Worried about tooth staining and discoloration? Ask Dr. Valderrama for help during your next appointment or during your consultation. Dr. V can provide you with recommendations for things you can do to avoid teeth staining and discoloration while wearing braces.