When metal or ceramic braces are applied to the teeth, they only cover a small amount of the entire tooth enamel. However, if the uncovered tooth enamel changes color during orthodontic treatment, then this can cause the teeth to have uneven coloring once the braces are removed following orthodontic treatment. To prevent this from happening, it is especially important to take care of your teeth while having orthodontic treatment.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not actually the braces that cause stains, rather it is the plaque that accumulates around the brackets. Braces can make it difficult to remove plaque, so it is more likely to accumulate in hard to reach areas. Plaque houses thousands of bacteria that produce acids to destroy minerals that make up your enamel. As tooth enamel demineralizes, it reflects light differently and looks like white spots. These white spots are highly noticeable after the braces have been removed and are a common reason why some people don’t want orthodontic treatment. However, white spots are not guaranteed and they can easily be prevented.
Here are some oral hygiene tips that can help prevent stains from braces:
The American Dental Association advises patients to brush at least twice a day to remove plaque and prevent tooth decay. In addition, you should also be brushing after every meal if you have metal or ceramic braces. While it may sound tedious, brushing after every meal removes food particles from your braces and also helps to prevent plaque accumulation. However, to prevent enamel erosion, be sure to wait about 30 minutes after you eat before brushing your teeth.
Avoid Pigmented Foods and Beverages
Pigments are colored molecules that are absorbed by the tooth enamel. Over time, the enamel can actually change color if enough pigments are absorbed. Since the brackets cover a small portion of the teeth, this means that the enamel may change color around them. Therefore, in order to prevent uneven coloring after your braces are removed, it is recommended to reduce the amount of highly pigmented foods and beverages you consume while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Additionally, brushing after meals can also help reduce stains.
Use the Right Toothpaste
Another way to prevent stains is to make sure you are using the right toothpaste. For starters, you should use a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps to prevent the enamel from demineralizing, which reduces the likelihood of developing white spots. Additionally, you should avoid using whitening toothpaste because it can cause uneven coloration once the braces come off. This is due to the fact that whitening toothpaste will not whiten the area beneath the brackets.
In addition to using toothpaste that contains fluoride, it is also recommended to use mouthwash that also contains fluoride. Using mouthwash once a day helps to remove bacteria and makes it harder for plaque to accumulate on the surface of your teeth. Additionally, the fluoride in mouthwash will strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce the risk of developing white spots.
Dr. Williams is up to date with all of the latest techniques and theories in the practice of orthodontics and is an active member of the American Association of Orthodontists. He is dedicated to providing the highest quality of orthodontic care to every patient.