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You’re no doubt looking forward to getting your braces removed so you can take a good look at your bright, straight smile. While this is the expectation many patients have for the end of their treatment, actually making this a reality depends on how well you take care of your teeth. Not only will your oral hygiene practices determine the health of your teeth, but they can also determine the appearance of your teeth once your braces are removed.

Braces and Tooth Staining

Your teeth are always prone to staining, but there’s another dimension to this problem when you add braces to the mix. Since the brackets cover small portions of each tooth, the area beneath the brackets will remain the same tone during your time with braces. This means you will have to be extra careful not to stain your teeth. If you aren’t careful, you will find white spots on your teeth when the braces are removed. This is the result of the teeth staining around the brackets over the course of treatment.

To avoid this, you’ll need to take intentional steps to avoid staining your teeth with braces.

Regular Cleaning

The most important key to oral healthcare while you have braces, and at all other times, is keeping up with your cleaning routine. Since food can get stuck in the brackets, it’s more important than ever to brush your teeth regularly when you have braces to avoid bad breath and tooth decay.

This practice will also help you avoid staining your teeth as well. Be sure to use fluoridated toothpaste for the best results. You should also brush your teeth after each meal or if you consume something that could stain your teeth to avoid the two-toned effect.

Avoid Teeth-Whitening Products

Getting teeth-whitening solutions, like gels or teeth-whitening strips, is an effective way to brighten your smile. But the period when you have braces is not the time to do this. The teeth-whitening solutions won’t reach under your brackets, so instead of seeing white spots when you remove your brackets or evenly toned teeth, you may find the parts of your teeth that were under the brackets are a slightly darker color. Many types of toothpaste are labeled as “teeth-whitening,” however these types of toothpaste are generally okay since they are designed to remove surface stains and don’t actually change the tone of your enamel.

Avoid Teeth-Staining Foods 

While the most important type of food restriction when you have braces involves avoiding crunchy or sticky foods that can damage your brackets, it will also be important to avoid foods that can stain your teeth. In general, really colorful or dark foods are the main culprits of teeth-staining, such as dark sauces, coffee, or tomatoes. It’s best to keep these foods to a minimum, but if you do consume them, be sure to brush your teeth soon afterward.

You can learn more about proper cleaning habits with braces and other important information about life with braces by scheduling a free consultation with Charleston Orthodontic Specialists.