One of the main instructions your orthodontist is going to give you is to not use teeth whitening products of any kind while wearing braces. The brackets from your braces are bonded to the teeth, so only the exposed surfaces will be whitened. The best way to keep your teeth white while wearing braces is the old-fashioned way: by brushing, flossing, and a consistent dental routine. Here’s what we recommend.
The Right Toothbrush
Electric toothbrushes are more efficient at getting plaque and food particles out of those hard-to-reach spots when you’re wearing braces. We recommend a good electric toothbrush. Just be careful not to use too much pressure since the vibration could potentially detach the bracket off the tooth. Also, check with your dentist to purchase ortho heads to attach to your electric toothbrush. However, there’s nothing wrong with using a normal manual toothbrush as long as you brush thoroughly. We’ll even recommend special orthodontic toothbrushes that are smaller and shaped correctly to work around your wire and brackets.
The thing that’s most important is that you brush thoroughly for two full minutes, regardless of what type of brush you’re using. Brush your teeth in the morning after you wake up, after every meal throughout the day, and once again before bed. This is the best way to fight off cavities and teeth staining while you’re wearing braces.
Floss threaders work great with braces, although you can use a regular piece of dental floss for the job. There are also specialized orthodontic flossers or a floss called superfloss that we can recommend. It’s best to floss at least once a day, preferably in the evening before bed. This cleans the areas between your teeth, where your toothbrush can’t reach.
Non-Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste
You will want to avoid abrasive toothpastes or ones that say “whitening” while you have braces. A whitening toothpaste will only whiten the visible parts of your teeth, not the locations behind your brackets. A toothpaste that has fluoride will keep the enamel of your teeth strong, and helps to stave off cavities.
This specialized orthodontic toothbrush is designed to fit into the tight spaces behind the wire. Try to get into the habit of carrying one around with you, since it’s a great tool for dislodging any piece of food that gets stuck. It’s important to choose an interdental or interproximal brush that’s the right size for your teeth and braces, in order for it to work most effectively.
A waterpik or water flosser is another great tool to use while wearing braces. It uses water to loosen pieces of food during your oral hygiene routine. The water jet gets into more hard-to-reach places. Remember that a waterpik does not replace regular flossing, which you’ll still have to do at least once per day.
Braces make it easier for plaque and bits of food to get stuck in your teeth, so you need to use every tool in the arsenal when it comes to keeping your teeth white. That includes a good fluoride mouthwash, preferably one that does not have alcohol in it. Alcohol can cause your mouth to dry out, which makes it easier for plaque-causing bacteria to form there. Remember that the same rule applies with mouthwash as it does for toothpaste and other products: don’t use a whitening mouthwash. Something with a bit of fluoride keeps your teeth clean and keeps your breath fresh.
MI Paste, HD Paste, Xylitol Mints
MI paste is sold only at dental offices by prescription and can be used to remineralize your teeth and protect the enamel from decalcifications that can appear during treatment. HD Paste can help you identify plaque left behind during brushing and flossing so your oral hygiene routine is more successful. And finally, 100% Xylitol products can help manage the harmful bacteria in your mouth to help protect your teeth while you are in braces.
Just remember also to visit your regular dentist every 3 to 6 months to have a professional cleaning done while in treatment with us.
Be sure to keep all of your appointments with Dr. Valderrama, your orthodontist. Another important thing to remember about braces is that teeth whitening can always happen after the braces come off. You can use whitening products again or work with a cosmetic dentist to finish up that perfect smile, once the work of shifting your teeth into place is finished. If you’d like to know more about braces or Invisalign, give our office a call 321-425-5050 to set up an appointment.