Straight teeth are not only attractive but also essential to dental health. Braces bestow the benefits of straight teeth.
However, the treatment lasts a minimum of a year and can pose challenges in terms of hygiene and keeping teeth white.
Common dental concerns
Concerns from wearing braces like plaque, tartar and bad bacteria are challenges in the face of flaunting white teeth.
Brackets can be easily damaged while brushing and be a barrier to effective cleansing. The bands that hold ceramic brackets together can cause staining as well.
Teeth whitening products that contain chemicals like peroxides can adversely affect braces.
Teeth whitening gels and strips can make teeth and gums more sensitive but less potent ones maybe less effective.
Most in – office and whitening procedures should ideally be done after braces, as the parts exposed could turn whiter than the parts hidden by braces.
Hidden or Incognito braces (Invisalign) are fitted at the back of teeth and in this case, professional whitening could be opted for.
However, it can damage gums or move the Invisalign brackets out of place.
Whitening with braces on
Food particles that are trapped in the braces can stain enamel.
Bacteria, food and metal brackets can react to produce blotchy whites, which can be an issue once braces come off.
The best procedures that are safe and work around braces to maintain healthy whites and remove surface stains can be practiced at home.
1. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a harmless, natural option. Swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in the morning before brushing is ideal. It has to be done for around 5 – 15 minutes to get all the toxins out.
It is known to be effective in producing visible results. With braces on, it can travel under the brackets to clean and feasibly whiten areas that aren’t exposed.
After the swishing with coconut oil, follow up with regular brushing.
2. Apple cider vinegar
This is an alternative natural formula to whiten teeth and remove stains. It can be especially effective with braces on, as it can dislodge food particles and bad bacteria.
Mix a teaspoon (5 ml) of apple cider vinegar to a 1/4th cup of water (60ml) and swish for around 30 seconds.
Follow up with a water rinse for another 15 – 30 seconds to clear off any residual vinegar.
Due to its acidic content, it’s best to repeat twice a week and monitor to avoid any side effects.
3. Salt and baking soda mix
Salt can save demineralized teeth and baking soda is a multipurpose cleanser solution. Together they can safely clean and whiten with braces on.
Mix half a teaspoon baking soda and half a teaspoon rock salt to 60 ml water. Stir until dissolved.
Swish for 30 seconds and follow up with a clear water rinse for another 30 seconds. This can be done 3 to 4 times a week.
In addition to teeth whitening tweaks, certain precautions can ensure a harmonious dental environment with braces on.
Efforts to care for teeth with the use of available resources and gear prevents discoloration, exposing straighter and whiter teeth once the braces come off.
Tools Used to Whiten Teeth with Braces On
A customized toothbrush is both basic and paramount to brushing with braces on. A soft bristled, angled toothbrush works well.
Electronic or sonic toothbrushes are an optimal option and rightly robust in cleaning.
Interdental brushes are smaller, tailored to clean between teeth and very useful while wearing braces.
Floss on a daily basis to remove stuck food particles and debris within brackets, bands and gaps in teeth to prevent cavities. Waxed floss is a better option and gentle on braces.
Invest in a dental kit to keep teeth clean and braces in flawless form. The kit should contain a dental tartar scraper, a dental probe/pick, and a dental scrape/scaler.
An oral irrigator has been clinically proven as better at cleaning teeth with braces on.
Food intake with dental fixtures demand certain do’s and don’ts to prevent discoloration and damage.
Fibrous foods can cause much damage to braces on. It’s better to opt on a menu with foods that are softer and easier to chew.
Stay clear from anything sticky, sweet and sugary that can make teeth more prone to harm with braces on.
Acidic foods, fizzy drinks should be sipped on with a straw. Extremely cold or hot foods and drinks erode enamel must be avoided.
Coffee, tea, colas etc. known to stain teeth must be consumed in moderation.
Wearing braces triggers a sensitive dental environment and can, therefore, call for a more rigorous routine, which must be adhered to for a better end – result.
Whitening teeth with braces is more of a prevention routine, barring harmful effects of certain indulgences and embracing habits to warrant better-looking teeth after the braces are off.
Factors such as time, cost, sensitivity, comfort etc. are important while selecting a whitening procedure, which is best, attempted after braces.