People with braces worry all the time: What if my teeth look stained after I get my braces off? While braces don’t really stain your teeth, they can make your teeth look stained. We’re going to give you info on how to prevent stained teeth while you have braces, and how to get rid of braces stains after your brackets are off.
How to Prevent Braces Stains
Watch What You Eat
We don’t want to put you on a strict diet, but eliminating certain foods from your diet can prevent braces stains. First up: sugar and soda. It’s always a good idea to limit how much sugar and soda you’re eating because they’re not good for your teeth. They can cause those yellow and brown spots that show up after braces, so it’s even more important to avoid them when you have braces. Sugar and carbonation break down the enamel on your teeth, and soda has both. When you drink soda with braces, the area around your brackets will get more worn down than the area underneath your brackets. This makes your teeth an uneven color. If you don’t want to give up soda and sugar, then just try to cut back. Your white teeth will thank you.
Stop eating really dark, colored foods if you want your teeth to be white after braces. Coffee, colored soda, and even dark tomato-based foods can stain your teeth, giving them an uneven color post-braces. If you look at the food and think, “This looks like it might stain my teeth,” then probably steer clear or plan to brush your teeth right after you eat. Beets, wine, tea, berries, and dark sauces can all stain your teeth, and when you get your braces off you’ll see where your brackets were.
Brush After Every Meal
Dentists recommend brushing your teeth 2 times a day, but when you have braces that number increases to 4 times a day. There are two main things that can give you braces stains: food and plaque. Brushing often gets rid of both of those. Brush your teeth in the morning, after every meal, and before bed to prevent stains. It might seem excessive to brush your teeth every single time you eat, but trust us: It will keep your teeth white. After you get your braces off your teeth won’t be stained or unevenly colored, and they’ll hopefully be cavity-free. Just try not to let food sit in the wires of your braces for too long.
If you don’t want to carry around a toothbrush at school or work, just swish water through your mouth to get rid of any lingering food. It’s inconvenient, but good for your teeth!
Don’t Use Whitening Toothpaste
It sounds like a contradiction, but to prevent brown spots, don’t use whitening toothpaste. Using whitening toothpaste while you have braces will whiten the teeth around your brackets, but it won’t whiten the teeth under your brackets. After your braces are off you can whiten all you want. Just wait until your brackets are removed.
Get Your Teeth Cleaned Often
Don’t forget to visit your dentist while you have braces. One of the most important things you can do to prevent braces stains is to get your teeth cleaned professionally. Go to your dentist for a cleaning every six months and your teeth will be clean and spot-free when you get your braces off. Ask your dentist what he or she recommends doing to prevent stains if you’re still worried about them. They’ll have some ideas of how to keep your teeth white with braces.
You may not want to book yet another appointment, but you still should go to the dentist while you have braces.
How to Get Rid of Braces Stains
Wait 6 Months
If you got your braces off and you do have stains on your teeth, some dental professionals recommend waiting 6 months before you whiten your teeth. Your saliva is pretty powerful. It’ll break down some of the braces stains on its own. Whiten away if your teeth are still stained after 6 months! Many braces stains will go away without whitening treatments.
Make sure you visit your dentist for a good cleaning right after you get your braces off. This will get rid of any extra adhesive on your teeth that might be making them look discolored.
Whiten Your Teeth
If you get your braces off, wait 6 months, and your teeth are still discolored, then teeth whitening is your best bet. Make sure you visit your dentist for a cleaning before you start any whitening treatment. They’ll let you know what they recommend. You can use whitening toothpaste, over-the-counter whitening products, or in-office treatments with your dentist or orthodontist. Try them out and see what works for your teeth and budget. Your dentist can help you find something that will work.
Talk to Your Orthodontist and Dentist!
Always talk to your orthodontist and dentist. Ask them how to prevent braces stains and they’ll let you know what’s best for your teeth. Don’t worry too much if you have stains on your teeth after braces! They’ll go away with a little work—and maybe some whitening.