OUTSIDE OF ANTIQUE FURNITURE and modern art, stains are pretty much always bad news. Worst of all is when the stains are on our teeth. If we aren’t careful during orthodontic treatment, we can end up with white spots on our teeth around where the brackets used to be when the braces come off. But why does this happen and how can we avoid it?
Why Teeth Develop Stains
The first thing you should know when it comes to post-braces stains is that they are not inevitable. It also isn’t the braces themselves that stain teeth. However, they do make it easier for plaque to build up, because the wires and brackets provide numerous nooks and crannies where bacteria and food particles can hide, making cleaning more difficult.
When plaque forms around brackets, it leaves decalcified patches. Then, when the braces come off, the spots where the brackets were are the same color as before, while the rest of the tooth has a bleached appearance. The buildup of plaque also increases the risk of decay and gum disease while the braces are on.
How To Keep Your Teeth Stain-Free
Your best defense against white spots and other stains is a good oral hygiene routine. Make sure to brush thoroughly at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, and stay on schedule with your regular dental cleanings. Your dentist can get to any plaque or tartar you might have missed.
Another way to avoid stains is to stay away from foods and drinks that are known to leave stains, such as coffee, dark teas, highly acidic drinks (like soda), sugary foods like candy and cookies, and even chips! All of these foods and drinks can either directly stain the teeth or they can easily get stuck between brackets and lead to plaque buildup.
Other things to avoid are tobacco and alcohol. These are big causes of stains on their own, and braces only make it worse because you’ll still have those normal-colored patches when the brackets come off. Your teeth will thank you if you steer clear.
Are The Stains Permanent?
If you do have stains or white spots when your orthodontic treatment ends, there are ways of fixing them. Some stains become less intense over time simply by being exposed to your saliva, which is why we might not recommend any whitening treatments right away. After a few months, if the stains are still visible, you can use over-the-counter whitening products or have your teeth professionally whitened by a dentist for a more uniform result.
Still Worried About Stains?
If you want to learn more about white spots and how to avoid them, just ask us! We want to help you get the smile you deserve, and that means having teeth that are stain-three as well as properly aligned.
Our patients are the best!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Top image by Flickr user ladybell273 used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.