In this guide, I will share with you How to Whiten Teeth While Wearing Braces.
Keeping teeth while wearing braces can be tricky, but if you want to, there are still options at the dentist and also at home.
Why Do People Wear Braces?
Most people wear braces for corrective reasons.
Their teeth may have grown out of the normal path, like having overlapping teeth. So for chewing and cleaning purposes, it is recommended to correct the positions of the teeth early.
Some wear for aesthetics reasons, to look good when they open and close their jaws so that they can have a nice smile.
Most young people start to wear braces after their dentists assessed their suitability, some as early as 8 years old.
Some teeth may have to be extracted to prepare for the wearing of braces. Most wear them for up to three years or more.
What Are The Main Types of Braces?
These are usually made of metal or ceramic brackets with permanent wires, and they run horizontally across the front of the teeth. Permanent types like these are applied with glue, which increases areas for plaque build-ups and bacteria growth.
A common problem is developing mouth sores.
This is the least expensive type and their designs have improved over the years and becoming less obvious when worn.
Lingual types are those placed on the inside of teeth, so you cannot see them on the front of the teeth.
These allow the options to be taken out for rinsing and cleaning. Normally they are replaced every few weeks.
Why Do My Teeth Turn Yellow With Braces?
What causes staining when wearing braces?
The main reason that teeth turn yellow when wearing braces is due to the formation of tartar.
Tartar is a result of plaque that hardens when it was not promptly removed.
Tartar can turn teeth yellow or brown, and only a dentist has the tools to remove them.
Improper brushing habits also leave bacteria and food-staining dyes which can be caught in the brackets.
These build up over time and lead to teeth turning yellow.
Is There A Way to Whiten Your Teeth While Wearing Braces?
There are many methods of whitening your teeth when wearing braces.
They are as follows.
Professional Whitening Services at the Dentist
1. Chairside Bleaching
This is done at the dentist where a special bleaching agent is applied over the teeth. Then a special light is applied to speed up the effect.
This can make the exposed surfaces of your teeth whiter than the parts underneath the braces, and this will be very obvious when eventually your braces are removed.
This method can set you back by more than $500, as special equipment and skills have to be used.
2. Whitening Trays
This is a procedure also carried out at the dentist, but less costly than chairside bleaching.
You will be fitted with a custom tray (looking like a boxer’s protective mouthguard) that fit your teeth, and into which you will be instructed to pour a hydrogen peroxide solution.
Usually, you need to do this twice a day or overnight as per instructions from your dentist.
This treatment should not exceed a couple of hundreds. Minimal sensitivity had been reported.
Home Remedies for Whitening Your Teeth At Home
If you would rather not go to the dentist, there are simple home solutions that are easy to implement.
1. Using Whitening Toothpaste
An easy option is to use whitening toothpaste which is readily available at your local pharmacies.
Normal toothpaste does their job by removing surface stains using mild abrasives.
Those labeled as whitening toothpaste have stronger polishing agents (such as baking soda) that can remove surface stains more effectively, without the harmful effects of bleaches.
They are also safe on the metal parts of your braces.
My favourite recommended Whitening Toothpaste is the Crest Pro-Health Advanced Deep Clean.
2. Paint-on Whitening Gels
Another easily available option involves painting a bleaching gel into your teeth which will harden in 30 minutes.
To remove, simply brush your teeth.
However, the drawback of this is that you may not reach areas around the metal brackets and wires.
The gel generally contains lower levels of hydrogen peroxides as compared to whitening trays.
3. Other home whitening solutions you can make.
- Using coconut oil. Traditionally called oil pulling, this method involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil for up to 20 minutes. Its effects include reducing plaque, as the oil can seep under the braces, keeping the area white.
- Using apple cider. Mix a teaspoon of apple cider with a quarter cup of water. Gargle in the mouth for 30 seconds and rinse your mouth. You can do this twice a week, because there is acidity in apple cider, and teeth do not like acidity.
- Using salt. Just dissolve half a teaspoon of salt with a quarter cup of water. Swish for 30 seconds and then rinse out. It is safe to do this 3 to 4 times a week.
- Baking Soda. Brushing with baking soda is not a good idea for those wearing braces or permanent retainers as it has the potential to damage the dental glue holding the orthodontic brackets in place It can cause a burning sensation in the mouth. You can do this simple whitening method just before installing your braces. Just make a paste by mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with water. Simply brush your teeth with it.
- Hydrogen Peroxide is also very popular and is a common ingredient used in dental whitening products. Generally, it is safe to use when you have braces, but it could damage the metal or ceramic brackets. If you have sensitive gums and teeth, you might want to limit using peroxide or a bleaching agent.
There you have it. You can either go to the dentist for clinical methods or try at-home methods. It is totally up to you.
Can You Use Teeth Whitening Strips with Braces?
While it is tempting to try teeth whitening stripe while on braces, these should not be applied to teeth with braces because the white strips will whiten only the portion of the teeth with which the whitening gel comes in contact.
As a result, you are going to get a 2 tone effect when eventually you remove your braces.
Minor Side effects of Whitening Teeth When Wearing Braces
- Increased sensitivity. You may feel a stinging sensation when drinking water or eating cold food.
- Swelling or sores. Chemicals in whitening kits can irritate the soft tissues and gums around the teeth and cause swelling in the gums.
Since there is a possibility of an uneven tone in your teeth when you do whitening with braces on, I suggest waiting until you remove the braces completely after a few years of wearing.
This means you either do your whitening before you install the braces or you wait out the period of wearing the braces.
I have attached a video that also supports waiting out for the completion of braces wearing before whitening your teeth.
After a Whitening Treatment, Now What?
If you have completed a whitening treatment, maintain the whiteness is easy if you follow these steps below.
- Avoid or limit liquids such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks, tomato sauces as these foods can cause discolouration.
- Using a straw. This will reduce any possible contact of discolouring agents near your teeth.
- Stop Smoking. Smoking has been known to stain your teeth as they contain tobacco.
By following these simple steps, it should be easy to maintain your teeth is its white condition throughout the period of wearing the braces.
I will be happy to hear of your experiences of whitening your teeth while wearing braces, do drop me a comment or two, and I thank you so much for dropping by.