Wearing braces can be challenging—from the cost and time involved in getting them fitted to the constant care and maintenance required, nobody wants to wear braces if they can avoid it. Unfortunately, braces wearers often encounter another challenge, one that does not become apparent until well after the orthodontist's bills have been paid. Teeth discolouration due to trapped food is a common problem caused by braces and is an issue most braces wearers cannot prevent. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to keep your teeth looking sparkling white.
1. Whitening toothpaste
Whitening toothpastes contain fluoride, a compound that helps to re-mineralise your tooth enamel and help fend off stains. Most toothpastes will also contain other active ingredients that work to remove existing surface stains, but they will not work overnight. You will have to brush your teeth with a whitening toothpaste twice a day for at least two weeks to start seeing results.
These toothpastes are safe to use with metal braces, as long as regular braces brushing habits are followed. For the best results, look for a toothpaste that has the Australian Dental Association Seal of Approval.
2. Whitening gels
There is a wide array of at-home teeth whitening kits available in supermarkets and pharmacies across the country, but unfortunately, most of these contain hydrogen peroxide, which is harmful to braces. Unfortunately, whitening strips are also not recommended for braces wearers, as they may damage the metal.
If whitening toothpaste is not helping, look for over-the-counter whitening gels that do not contain any hydrogen peroxide. Be careful—some kits may not list hydrogen peroxide on the packaging but will contain other compounds such as carbamide peroxide, which breaks down to hydrogen peroxide in water.
3. Professional teeth whitening
If at-home treatments are not working, try asking your dentist for a quick in-office whitening session. Professional teeth whitening can take as little as one hour, and thanks to laser teeth whitening, the results can last for up to three years.
Make sure you advise your dentist's office that you wear braces when you call to make an appointment. Some in-office teeth whitening procedures are unsuitable for braces wearers, and you do not want to turn up to an appointment only to be told that the office does not offer a procedure that is safe for braces!
4. Consider clear aligners
Treating crooked and crowded teeth with clear aligners, often referred to by the brand name Invisalign, has gained popularity in recent years. One of the benefits of wearing clear aligners instead of braces is that teeth discolouration is much less likely to occur, as clear aligners do not use metal brackets. Most orthodontic problems that require braces can also be treated with clear aligners, unless the problem is especially severe. If discolouration is causing significant issues for you, consider talking to your dentist or orthodontist to make the switch.
Many practitioners can bundle the fitting of clear aligners with a teeth whitening treatment all in the one appointment. If your teeth have been discoloured by months of wearing braces, consider asking for a quick whitening session before your aligners are fitted.
Braces can be an essential part of treating a variety of dental issues, but this should not be at the expense of the whiteness of your teeth. By following these four tips, you can help to keep your teeth sparkling white despite your braces.
Hello, my name is Jack. I am now 79 years old. As you can imagine, my teeth have taken something of a battering over the years. I lost a couple of teeth in a bar fight, four more decayed and one had to be extracted when it became infected. After losing so many teeth, my dentist suggested that I have dentures fitted. I was worried about this but my dentist was really great. He helped explain the procedure and then did an excellent job. I love my new dentures and I wanted to start this blog to offer help to others.