How Do You Prevent Stains While Wearing Braces?

Need help preventing stains while wearing your new braces? Metal or clear braces from Austin Orthodontics Arts help to align your teeth and improve your smile. However, maintaining oral hygiene with braces can be challenging, especially when it comes to preventing stains. Stains affect the appearance of your teeth and can cause more serious dental issues if you don’t manage them properly. Our Austin orthodontists, Dr. Naj, Dr. Salome, and Dr. Hime, understand the importance of keeping your teeth healthy and stain-free during your orthodontic treatment. Whether you have metal or clear braces, we are happy to give you some tips to help out. Here’s how we tell stains to take a hike.

Understanding the Causes of Stains with Braces

Keeping a sheen on your smile becomes more challenging when you wear braces because the brackets and wires provide extra space for food particles and plaque to stick to (eek!). That means you have more places to watch out for, and more surfaces mean you’ve really got to brush up on your oral hygiene. 

One major cause of stains is food debris and plaque hanging around your brackets and along your gumline. The likely culprits are foods rich in color (like berries, tomatoes, and curry) and beverages (like coffee, tea, and soda). These can leave behind pigments that stain the enamel and the braces themselves. Additionally, sugary and acidic foods contribute to plaque buildup, which can discolor your braces if you leave them there too long.

Poor oral hygiene also plays a part. Brushing and flossing are always important. But they’re even more important when you have braces. Not brushing or flossing allows plaque to harden into tartar. If you didn’t already know, tartar is more difficult to remove and can cause staining. Habits like smoking or chewing tobacco also increase your risk of stains and can lead to more severe discoloration.

Now you’ve got a 10,000-foot view of what causes stains on your braces, so you’re aware of the problem before it even starts. The next sections will discuss practical techniques and helpful tips to keep your braces (and teeth) neat, shiny, and stain-free.

How Do You Prevent Stains While Wearing Braces?

Effective Brushing Techniques

You know how to brush your teeth—we get it—but a friendly reminder never hurts, does it?

Importance of Brushing Regularly and Thoroughly

Brushing your teeth regularly and thoroughly is crucial when you have braces. As you know, your brackets and wires create additional surfaces for food particles and plaque to cling to. You’ve probably already got a routine brushing habit—good job, but remember to keep up the good work. 

Recommended Types of Toothbrushes

Using the correct toothbrush can make a big difference in your oral health. Orthodontic toothbrushes, which have a V-shaped bristle pattern, are specifically designed to clean around your braces. Electric toothbrushes also work well, as they provide consistent and thorough cleaning with minimal effort.

Step-by-Step Guide to Brushing with Braces

  1. Angle of the brush: Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. This position allows the bristles to reach under the gumline and clean around the brackets effectively.
  1. Cleaning around brackets and wires: Use small, circular motions to brush around each bracket. Make sure to brush both above and below the wires, as these areas are prone to plaque buildup.
  1. Duration and frequency: Brush for at least two minutes twice a day. For the best results, consider brushing after every meal to get rid of any food that may have gotten stuck in your braces.

Additional Tips for Effective Brushing

  1. Use Fluoride Toothpaste: Fluoride helps make tooth enamel stronger and prevent cavities.
  1. Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly: Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head about once a quarter (Can’t remember that? Think every season: spring, summer, fall, winter.), or sooner if your bristles become frayed.
  1. Consider a proxabrush: Also known as an interdental brush, a proxabrush can help clean between your wires and brackets where a regular toothbrush might miss.
How Do You Prevent Stains While Wearing Braces?

Flossing with Braces

Flossing with braces can seem hard, but it’s really important for keeping your mouth healthy. Traditional floss can be difficult to use because of the wires, but floss threaders make it easier. Just thread the floss through the threader, slide it between your teeth, and gently move it up and down.

Another handy tool is a water flosser, which uses a stream of water to hose down food and plaque. Try flossing at least once a day to keep your mouth fresh and clean. These tools and tricks should help you get a thorough clean and keep your smile beaming while you have braces.

Dietary Tips

What you eat plays a big role in keeping your teeth clean while wearing braces. Some foods can stain your teeth and brackets. Grown-ups, we know you need your caffeine fix in the morning. But try to avoid dark-colored drinks like coffee and tea. They can definitely leave stains. Soda and sports drinks can also cause problems because they are high in sugar and acid.

Instead, drink plenty of water. It helps rinse away food fragments and keeps your mouth clean. When it comes to food, stay away from sticky and chewy snacks like gum, caramel, and gummy candies. They can get stuck in your braces and are hard to clean out.

Crunchy fruits and vegetables (think apples or celery) are great choices. Just cut them into smaller pieces to make them easier to eat with braces. Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.) are also good. They are less likely to cause stains and are good for your teeth.

How Do You Prevent Stains While Wearing Braces?

Brush Up Your Braces at Austin Orthodontic Arts

Good oral hygiene with braces isn’t something to brush off (see what we did there?). Dr. Naj, Dr. Salome, and Dr. Hime want you to get the most out of your treatment in Austin. To take the next step, go here to schedule your free consultation at Austin Orthodontic Arts.