July 20, 2023
Braces are a great tool to achieve a beautiful, healthy smile. But they can also come with one negative side effect (and one that you typically see less of with Invisalign treatment): Braces stains.
Stains from braces can cause discoloration on the teeth for months after braces are removed. This is usually due to plaque buildup and debris that accumulated around the brackets and wires of braces. That's why it's crucial to maintain proper oral hygiene while wearing braces to prevent and minimize staining of the teeth.
Do you know how to clean your teeth with braces and if needed, remove stains? If not, we've got you covered. Keep reading.
Braces stains are most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene. White stains on a tooth, known as decalcification, are the very beginning stage of a cavity forming. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, this stain is caused by a build-up of plaque and food particles that accumulate around the brackets of braces can cause permanent discoloration of the tooth beneath. It can progress to a full-blown cavity if plaque keeps collecting. This is because when bacteria in plaque mix with sugars from food, it creates an acid that can contribute to staining on your teeth.
Another common cause of braces stains is the type of food and drink you consume. Dark-colored beverages such as coffee, tea, cola, and red wine can all contribute to staining on your teeth if left in contact with your teeth for an extended period. The same goes for acidic foods high in sugar, like candy and sugary fruit juices.
The best way to avoid stains from braces is to practice good oral hygiene. Ensure you brush your teeth twice daily, floss daily, and use fluoridated mouthwash. This will help keep plaque and food particles from accumulating in your braces, which can lead to staining.
It would help if you also tried to limit the amount of dark-colored beverages and acidic foods you consume while wearing braces. If you do indulge in these types of food or drinks, make sure to rinse your mouth out with water immediately afterward. This will help prevent staining on your teeth.
Do you know how to get rid of braces stains? If not, the good news is there are several ways of reducing and avoiding stains with braces! Here's what you can do:
Electric toothbrushes effectively remove plaque and food particles from around the brackets. Here at Sandy Smiles Orthodontics, we provide you with a complimentary electric tooth brush when you start your comprehensive braces treatment The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests using an electric toothbrush to help clean around your braces as it is easier to use. The ADA also recommends brushing for two minutes (morning and nighttime) as it has been shown to clinically remove a significant level of plaque. Also, utilizing a toothpaste containing fluoride is associated with decreased risk of caries and remineralization of teeth, helping to prevent white stains. Brushing with braces is important.
Flossing with braces is often tricky but very important. Use floss threaders or super floss to get the job done correctly. You can also use a Waterpik or other irrigators to flush out food particles between your teeth and around the brackets. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs Acceptance of Waterpik Water Flosser is based on its finding that the product is safe and has shown efficacy for removing plaque along the gumline and between teeth and helping to prevent or reduce gingivitis, when used as directed.
A fluoridated mouthwash, such as ACT Anticavity Fluoride Rinse, can help remove plaque and bacteria that cause staining. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs Acceptance of ACT Anticavity Fluoride Rinse is based on its finding that ACT Anticavity Fluoride Rinse is safe and has shown efficacy in helping to prevent tooth decay, when used as directed. Rinse for at least 30 seconds twice a day.
In addition to practicing good oral hygiene, paying attention to your diet is essential. Eating healthy, balanced meals is critical for keeping your teeth and braces clean and stain-free. Stick to healthy foods that are low in sugar, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and those that don't contain any discoloring agents, such as coffee or tea. Products like coffee, tea, soda, and wine can leave dark stains on the teeth, which are much more visible when braces are on. Also, avoid acidic foods such as citrus fruits that may weaken your enamel and cause discoloration over time. Avoid sugary, starchy, or sticky foods, as these can be difficult to remove from around the brackets and wires. If you indulge in sugary snacks, brush your teeth afterward or at least rinse with water to eliminate any food particles that may have been left behind.
Another option is remineralization, which can help strengthen the enamel and prevent staining. Remineralizing agents such as fluoride and calcium are often found in toothpaste and mouthwashes. A fluoridated toothpaste, such as Crest Fluoride Toothpaste, can help remove plaque and bacteria that cause staining. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs Acceptance is based on its finding that the toothpaste has shown efficacy in helping to prevent tooth decay, when used as directed.
Microabrasion is a procedure dentists perform in their offices to remove surface stains from the teeth. It involves using mild abrasive pastes or gels and a special brush to polish the teeth to scrub away discoloration gently. Talk to your dentist to see if microabrasion is right for you.
During active orthodontic treatment while you or your child have traditional braces, visit your orthodontist every 6-10 weeks to ensure they can assess how you're taking care of your mouth and teeth and provide the necessary adjustments to your braces.
Maintaining good orthodontic hygiene (brushing, flossing, and rinsing as directed) is vital in avoiding or reducing the occurrence of unsightly and embarrassing brace stains. Taking proper care of your mouth and teeth helps minimize the appearance of discoloration, prevents cavities, and keeps gums healthy. With these simple steps, you'll be able to get back that pearly white smile in no time!
Ready to get rid of those braces stains? Or need some orthodontic care in general? Then you've come to the right page. Schedule your smile assessment with Sandy Smiles Orthodontics today! Dr. Morgan Zwickel, DMD, MS is one of the few Specialists in Orthodontics in our area to have achieved Board Certification in Orthodontics from the American Board of Orthodontics.