How Do You Prevent Stains While Wearing Braces?

People often expect a perfect smile after braces—and truthfully, that takes some additional work to the braces themselves! Staining is a common effect of having braces, but it can be prevented. Today, Icon Orthodontics will answer the following question: How do you prevent staining while wearing braces?

Components of Braces

To start, we need to cover the different parts of traditional braces. There are more working parts than you might initially think! Staining will happen around these various parts:

  • Brackets: Braces consist of small brackets attached to each tooth with a special adhesive, serving as anchors for other components.
  • Archwires: Made from stainless steel or nickel-titanium, these wires connect the brackets and are essential for alignment. They exert pressure on the brackets and teeth, gradually shifting them as directed by our doctors.
  • Bands: Metal rings placed around the back molars, forming part of a traditional orthodontic appliance.
  • Elastic Ties (O-rings): These small bands hold the archwire to the brackets and come in various colors, which is popular among our younger patients. We typically replace them every 4-6 weeks.
  • Retainers: After the active phase of orthodontic treatment, patients often wear clear retainers, which can be either removable or fixed, to maintain the newly achieved alignment of the teeth.

How Staining Happens

Staining with braces can be caused by a few different factors and circumstances:

  • Plaque and Tartar Buildup: Food particles and bacteria are able to accumulate around your brackets and wires, which leads to plaque formation. A similar effect can happen with demineralization or white spots on the teeth. If not properly cleaned, this plaque can harden into tartar, which in turn causes permanent discoloration.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene: This buildup is caused by poor oral hygiene. Inadequate brushing and flossing is the main culprit here. 
  • Certain Foods and Drinks: Consuming foods and beverages that are prone to staining, like tea, coffee, red wine, sodas, and berries, can naturally cause discoloration. These items all contain pigments that can stick to the teeth and braces, causing stains that might not be obvious until your braces are removed.
  • Smoking and Tobacco Use: This is another massive issue. Tobacco products like cigarettes and chewing tobacco contain tar and nicotine, which cause significant discoloration of your teeth and braces. With or without braces, this habit can cause problems with your teeth and your overall health.
  • Sugary Foods and Acids: Foods high in sugar and acid can often contribute to plaque formation and enamel erosion, which makes teeth more susceptible to staining. 
  • Dehydration: Dry mouth reduces saliva production, which is essential for washing away food particles and neutralizing acids. This can increase the risk of staining and plaque buildup.
  • Medication and Health Conditions: Certain medications can contribute to tooth staining. For example, some antihistamines and antibiotics can cause this.

How Do You Prevent Stains While Wearing Braces?

Prevention of Staining

Reversal of staining can be a lengthier restorative process, so the best way to go is preventive. Being aware of staining and knowing how to fight will vastly improve your results when your active treatment with Dr. Sun or Dr. Sarpotdar is over.

  • Excellent Hygiene: Brush and floss daily after each meal. Use interdental brushes or water flossers to clean between braces if traditional flossing is difficult.
  • Regular Visits: Keep up with scheduled appointments with Icon Orthodontics to help us monitor your progress and detect potential issues early. Additionally, regular dental cleanings should be maintained for overall oral health.
  • Dietary Calcium: Ensure you get enough calcium, which is essential for maintaining strong enamel that can resist staining. Consider a calcium supplement or dietary changes to boost your intake.
  • Diet Adjustment: Limit sugar intake to prevent acid attacks on your teeth. If you do consume sugar, clean your teeth or at least rinse thoroughly to remove any remaining particles. The longer sugar stays on your teeth, the greater the risk of damage.
  • Brush with Baking Soda: Baking soda can be used on occasion as a gentle abrasive to help remove surface stains. Brush with a small amount once a week to brighten your teeth a bit and fight staining.
  • Use Mouthwash: Antibacterial mouthwash can be an effective tool for reducing plaque buildup and maintaining oral health. This can be an asset for those who deal with dry mouth as well.
  • Use an Electric Toothbrush: If you’ve been using a manual toothbrush to try and clean your braces, you’ll probably find an electric one does a much better job at not only hitting more hard-to-reach areas but also doing so more effectively.
  • Be Cautious with Whitening Products: Avoid using strong whitening treatments while wearing braces. They can cause uneven whitening, which is why only very mild treatments should be used under the guidance of our Icon Orthodontics team.

How Do You Prevent Stains While Wearing Braces?

Keeping it Clean

Our practice is here to help your experience with braces be simple and effective, which means bringing awareness to some of the common obstacles patients face in their treatment. We can’t wait to see you soon at our Surprise or Glendale offices. You’ve got this!