Are you one of those people who are wearing braces right now, or have worn in the past? If you have, have you ever wondered how to whiten teeth while wearing braces? If you are unsure which methods are available, read on to find out the few common methods of whitening your teeth while wearing braces.
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 tooth. 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?
- Attached 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.
- Removable braces. These allow the options to be taken out for rinsing and cleaning. Normally they are replaced every few weeks.
Why does 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.
So how do I whiten my teeth when bearing 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 mouth guard) 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.
if you would rather not go to the dentist, there are simple home solutions that are easy to implement.
1. Using Whitening Toothpastes.
An easy option is to use whitening toothpastes which are readily available at your local pharmacies.
Normal toothpastes do their job by removing surface stains using mild abrasives, whereas those labelled as whitening toothpastes 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.
2. Paint-on Whitening Gels.
Another easily available option, this involves painting a bleaching gel into your teeth which will harden in 30 minutes.
To remove, simple 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.
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.
Minor Side effects of whitening teeth when wearing braces
- Increased sensitivity. You may feel stinging sensation when drinking water or eating cold food.
- Swelling or sores. Chemicals in whitening kits can irritate the soft tissues around the teeth and cause swelling in the gums.
Since there is a possibility of uneven tone in your teeth when you do whitening with braces on, I suggest to wait 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 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, I hope that you can 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.