When a person finishes treatment with braces, they usually can’t wait to see their newly aligned smile. As they are getting their brackets and wires taken off, their anticipation grows, and it peaks as their orthodontist hands them a mirror. As you can imagine, the absolute last thing anyone wants to see is stained, yellow teeth, but this can happen quite often because braces make daily oral hygiene a little more complicated. Thankfully, “braces stain” is easily preventable! Below, your orthodontist in Powell shares 4 simple tips to keep you or your child’s teeth sparkling white while wearing braces so that big day is nothing but positive.
1. Brush More Often
The American Dental Association recommends that everyone should brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each, but people with braces should spend a little more time cleaning their ever-changing smile. Because braces often trap stain-causing food particles and plaque against the teeth, a patient should ideally brush after every meal. However, it’s important that they wait at least 30 minutes after eating to do this. This gives the saliva time to naturally wash away acids from foods and drinks that can weaken the enamel.
2. Don’t Forget to Floss!
Ideally, a patient should floss every time before they brush. This breaks up food particles lodged between the teeth and braces, and then brushing removes them. Flossing with regular floss can be a bit tricky with braces, but patients can also use threaders or other braces-friendly products that are recommended by their orthodontist to clean those areas of the mouth that are beyond the reach of their brush.
3. Consume Fewer Staining Foods
There are certain foods and drinks well-known for their penchant for staining the teeth, including tomato sauce, soy sauce, sodas, wine, coffee…the list goes on. Basically, if a food item can stain your shirt, it will also stain your teeth! While brushing and flossing consistently can diminish the impact staining foods have on the teeth, the best way to avoid dental discoloration while wearing braces is to simply consume less of them. This way, the teeth are being exposed to fewer pigments that can darken the enamel.
4. Keep Up Your Orthodontist Visits
Throughout a braces treatment, a patient will be asked to return to their orthodontist’s office for regular progress checks. This also gives an orthodontist the opportunity to catch any problems before they become too advanced. If they notice that a patient’s teeth are starting to become stained, they can let them know way ahead of the braces coming off and the patient being disappointed. They can help a patient adjust their oral hygiene routine so that when their treatment is finished, they’ll have a big, bright, and beautiful smile looking back at them.
Avoiding stains with braces does take a little effort, but it requires relatively little time, and the pleasant side effect is that all of these tips are great for oral health as well, lowering the chance a patient will develop cavities or gum disease that could throw off their treatment. By putting these practices into action, when a patient finally gets their braces off and looks into the mirror, they’ll have every reason in the world to smile.
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey Shirk is an award-winning, board-certified child and adult orthodontist based in Powell. He’s able to provide a wide range of treatments to help his patients achieve the straight and beautiful smiles they deserve, and he knows how to keep the teeth healthy and bright throughout the orthodontic process. To learn more about maintaining white teeth with braces or begin treatment altogether, we invite you to give our office a call or schedule a FREE in-person consultation online.