Braces are believed to correct a bad bite, align your teeth as well as correct teeth overcrowding. All these results in a healthier smile and in turn, increased self-confidence. However, a lot of people wonder what should be done in order to have a brighter smile.
This question is especially important for people who wear dental braces. The following sections of this article depict the main tips on how to keep your teeth white while wearing dental braces.
What should people know about teeth whitening with braces?
A lot of people think that only drinks and food can stain the teeth. However, dental specialists claim that braces can also stain your teeth.
Normally, when a person wants to make a smile look brighter and whiter, he/she will make use of a number of teeth whitening procedures. Although, some teeth whitening methods such as in-office treatment is not possible for people who wear dental braces. Therefore, it is extremely important to identify safe methods of teeth whitening for this group of people.
The good news is that people with braces do not need to remove them in order to get a brighter smile. However, dentists always recommend whitening teeth after removing braces. Teeth whitening with dental braces can result in uneven shades.
This is because of the fact that teeth whitening agents cannot reach areas where brackets are covering the surface of teeth and in areas where teeth are overlapping and shifting.
What are the teeth whitening options for people with braces?
The decision regarding the teeth whitening option depends on the type of braces a person has. There is a number of safe teeth whitening options available for people with dental braces and they are as follows:
1. Whitening strips
This is an at-home whitening method, which is inexpensive, safe and effective. These strips normally contain either peroxide or a bleaching agent. Their main goal is to remove stains off the surface of the teeth.
Dentists recommend applying them once or twice a day for up to 45 minutes. It should be also mentioned that there are several side effects of using this whitening method. Some people might experience tooth sensitivity or gum irritation.
There are also several limitations to the use of this method. These strips can be only used with clear removable aligners or lingual braces, which are brackets and metals placed on the back of your teeth. It is also worth mentioning that there is almost no effect of whitening strips if a person has traditional metal braces because they will whiten only the exposed tooth surfaces and will not penetrate the tooth enamel under the brackets.
As a result, you might have a two-tone color on your teeth once the braces are removed. This teeth whitening option is relatively cheap. You will have to spend around $30-$40 for a 30 day supply and you can purchase these strips at the majority of pharmaceutical stores.
2. Whitening trays
Another safe option available for people with dental braces is whitening trays. A small amount of the whitening gel is placed into the tray and then a tray is inserted into the mouth for a duration between 30 minutes to one hour.
Dentists advise repeating the treatment every day until the desired outcomes are achieved. Normally, it takes between 2 to 3 weeks to see the changes. Just as with whitening strips, whitening trays have the same side effects including tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.
However, if a person does not experience any of the aforementioned side effects, he/she can wear the tray for a longer period, up to 2 hours per session.
Whitening trays are not good for traditional metal braces. They can only work with removable aligners and lingual braces. The cost of whitening trays varies depending on the place where you buy them, at your dentist’s office or at a store. In-store kits typically cost around $30 while your dentist can charge more than $100 for a kit.
3. Whitening mouthwash and toothpaste
As was already mentioned, it is not possible to use whitening strips and trays if you have traditional metal braces. Although, there is a number of everyday oral care products that can lead to a brighter and whiter smile, including whitening toothpaste and mouthwashes.
Whitening toothpaste contain abrasive particles, which are aimed to scrub away surface stains on your teeth. Some of these products might also contain certain chemicals that assist in dissolving stains. When it comes to whitening mouthwash, they are believed to protect against new stains as well as freshen your breath.
Dentists recommend using a whitening toothpaste two to three times a day and a whitening mouthwash at least once a day in order to achieve the best outcomes. These products do not tend to cause gum irritation or tooth sensitivity if they do not contain bleach.
However, if the whitening toothpaste is extremely abrasive, it can wear away tooth enamel, which in turn can lead to tooth sensitivity. A good thing about these whitening products is that they can be used for all types of dental braces. The average cost for a three-pack of toothpaste varies between $10 to $15 and a three-pack of mouthwash can cost between $20 to $30. These whitening products can be purchased at the majority of grocery stores and pharmaceutical stores.
4. Electric toothbrush
Electric toothbrushes are believed to lift surface stains and whiten the teeth. They do not include any chemical agents to change the color of your teeth but they remove the surface stain much better than a regular toothbrush.
It gives the appearance of a whiter smile. This type of toothbrush should be used in the same way you use your traditional toothbrush.
It should be also said that if you have sensitive teeth or gums, the rapid automatic bristle motion might not be applicable for you. As a solution, you can look for an electric toothbrush with different speed settings for the purpose of reducing tooth and gum sensitivity.
There are no limitations to the use of an electric toothbrush and they can be used with all types of braces. The cost of these brushes varies between $ 10 to $70.
How to prevent teeth discoloration while wearing dental braces?
Dentists say that it is possible to prevent some stains with proper oral hygiene. In order to prevent teeth discoloration, it is recommended to floss and brush your teeth on a regular basis.
In addition to this, these procedures should be performed after every meal. Proper brushing requires 2 minutes. Flossing your teeth is important for removing any food that is stuck between the teeth and underneath the wires of your dental braces.
It is also advised to eliminate foods and drinks that can lead to staining. Additionally, it is not recommended to consume high-acidic foods that can potentially damage your teeth.
Dentists also do not recommend using any kind of tobacco products as they lead to staining and can also harm your gums.
You should not forget about regular dental check-ups. It is advised to visit your dentist at least twice a year. Some people make use of fluoride treatment before placing dental braces. This can possibly protect against teeth discoloration. It is also important to consult your dentist before making use of any teeth whitening option.
Also read: 8 Debunked Myths About Teeth Whitening
Amelia Grant believes that information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. Check out her website blog for more.
Author: Amelia Grant
Amelia Grant is a journalist and blogger that believes information is a great force that is able to change people’s lives for the better. She has a strong passion for sharing useful and important things about health self-care, wellness and other advice that may be helpful for people. She is an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle. You can check out her website for daily updates at Amelia’s Blog.