Of course, once you decide to straighten your teeth, you want your new smile to look as fantastic as possible. That’s why a lot of our Tarrytown braces patients ask us about teeth whitening with braces. Unfortunately, while you’re actually wearing braces teeth whitening products should be avoided, which we’ll go over shortly. However, even though professional or over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments are off the table until your braces come off, that’s not to say you can’t maintain a bright, healthy smile. We’re showing you how to keep your teeth white with braces using the right products and a stellar oral hygiene routine!
Teeth Whitening and Braces
There are a few reasons why when you have braces teeth whitening isn’t recommended. First, the brackets are bonded to your teeth and cover a good portion of the visible area. If you use a whitening product, it will whiten the exposed parts of your teeth but it won’t penetrate beneath your brackets. You’ll be left with a two-toned smile when we remove your braces.
If you’re in orthodontic treatment to correct something like crowding where some teeth may be twisted or overlapping with their neighbors, you have even more parts of your teeth that whitening agents won’t be able to address. When treatment is over and your teeth are in their new positions, this could also lead to lighter and darker areas on your teeth. Finally, whitening products can make teeth more sensitive and that can create more discomfort as your braces apply pressure.
Flossing and Brushing With Braces are Keys to a Sparkling Smile
Practicing a diligent oral hygiene routine is the best way to keep teeth white with braces. Brushing and flossing will eliminate food debris and plaque, ward off tooth decay and get rid of surface stains for whiter teeth. When it comes to brushing with braces, make sure to brush in the morning, after meals and snacks and before bed. Squeeze a non-whitening, fluoride toothpaste onto your toothbrush and place your toothbrush where your gums and teeth meet. Brush along the gum line using circular motions and then work your way down the tooth. Make sure to give every tooth individual attention and brush all of the surfaces, as well as between brackets and wires. Brush for two full minutes each session and don’t forget to brush your tongue too.
To floss with braces, we recommend using a floss threader or an orthodontic flosser to make your life easier and help you get the job done quickly and effectively. Whichever method you choose to floss with braces, get the floss under your wire and between any two teeth. Floss up and down the side of one tooth and then do the same on the other tooth before moving on to the next pair. Floss up and down the outside of your molars as well. Floss once a day, preferably at night to get rid of the food and plaque that has built up during the day. Simply flossing and brushing with braces regularly will help keep your teeth white.
Products for Keeping Teeth White With Braces
While maintaining excellent oral hygiene is the most important thing, there are products for keeping teeth white with braces that can give you an edge. They’re not mandatory but a lot of the patients at 914 Orthodontics find them helpful.
1. An Electric Toothbrush – You’re certainly welcome to use a manual toothbrush and you’ll still be able to keep your mouth clean. However, we do find an electric toothbrush can be a little more efficient at getting rid of plaque and surface stains.
2. Interproximal Brush – An interproximal brush, sometimes called a proxy brush or an interdental brush, has the appearance of a tiny wand. It’s designed to fit in tight spaces and is perfect for brushing underneath your wires, around your brackets and even in between teeth. Pack some travel interproximal brushes with you in your school or work bag so that you have them on hand. If you get food stuck in your braces, they’re super helpful for knocking it loose.
3. Alcohol-Free, Fluoride Mouthwash – You are at a higher risk for decay when you have braces because the brackets and wires are notorious for trapping food and plaque. While good oral hygiene will keep you cavity-free, adding a fluoride mouthwash to the mix offers another layer of protection. Though mouthwash in itself won’t make your teeth whiter, by preventing cavities, you can also prevent the discoloration they cause.
4. A Water Flosser – A Waterpik or another brand of water flosser can give you a squeaky, clean feeling and a lot of our Tarrytown braces patients absolutely love them. The stream of water gets into tight spaces, reduces plaque and debris and boosts the health of your gums. You will still have to floss with dental floss in addition to using your water flosser since it’s not a replacement. However, it can be a beneficial add-on and a convenient way to keep your teeth white with braces and your smile healthy.
Practicing outstanding oral hygiene and including a few extra products into your repertoire can go a long way in keeping your teeth white with brace. Once you’re finished treatment, you’ll also be able to opt for professional or at-home whitening treatments to really brighten things up. Not a patient yet but ready to get straight teeth and a gorgeous smile? Book a free consultation at 914 Orthodontics by calling or texting us at (914) 332-0900 today!