If you’ve ever had braces, or are planning to have them, you’ve probably seen or heard about stained teeth being discovered upon removal of brackets. Well, it doesn’t have to happen to you! Just a few simple changes can make all the difference once your bright white smile is revealed!
1. Brush After Every Meal. While brushing teeth after meals can and should be applied for those without braces as well, it is crucial for those with braces. Allowing food and drink particles to sit on your teeth for long periods of time only increases the likelihood of stain and other problems, such as cavities. Normal use of an electric toothbrush is ideal for cleaning teeth after eating.
2. Avoid Whitening Toothpastes. Yes, whitening toothpaste isn’t doing your bracket-covered teeth any favors. In fact, it often leads to visible spots on your teeth from where the tooth area surrounding the bracket was whitened, but the area covered by brackets was not. Simply use ordinary toothpaste on a regular basis, and after meals for the best result. Ask your dentist if you are unsure of which toothpastes to use and which you should avoid.
3. Floss and Use Mouthwash. While the importance of brushing should not be discounted, a regular routine using floss and mouthwash is equally crucial. By reaching all the places that your toothbrush simply cannot, you lessen the chances of stain in those hard-to-reach areas. Mouthwash eliminates germs that could linger on teeth and cause staining. With floss made specifically for handling braces, there’s no excuse anymore not to make it a part of your daily routine.
4. Avoid foods known to stain. While it can be difficult to stray from some of your favorite foods, you should be aware of, and do your best to avoid, foods that are known to stain. These include: coffee, soda, and anything with food coloring. Other lesser known problem foods are mustard and foods with tomato or tomato paste as ingredients. The yellow and red colors in these foods don’t mesh well with ceramic brackets and can easily stain brackets and teeth.
5. Keep your scheduled appointments. With the busy nature of our lives, it’s nearly impossible to avoid having to change or cancel an orthodontic or dentist appointment. However, these appointments are crucial for avoiding stains with braces. Regularly changing ligatures, or the rubber bands surrounding brackets, is necessary and should be removed and replaced each visit due to the threat they present for staining quite easily. Your dentist will provide a heavy-duty cleaning for your teeth that goes beyond your daily hygiene routine of brushing and flossing, and will advise you of any trouble areas to keep an eye on for stains. Don’t miss these opportunities to provide proper cleaning and care that your braces require.
You’re in control of your own smile. Don’t let stained teeth keep you from showing it!