When most people decide to get braces, they don’t think about how much work will be required to clean their teeth once the braces are on. Once they realize they have to spend twice as much time brushing and flossing, they decide it isn’t worth the hassle.
As a result, many patients actually end up neglecting their oral health during a time when they should be cleaning more thoroughly than ever before.
Many people with poor oral hygiene and braces will eventually notice undesirable things like yellow or brown stains, large accumulations of plaque, and perhaps even cavities and so on.
Wearing braces is a major commitment, and patients who are not willing to put in the effort to take care of their teeth may end up with damaged teeth after braces. So if you want to avoid yellow teeth with braces, tooth decay with braces, or damaged teeth after braces then read the rest of this article to get some tips that will help you overcome the disadvantages of braces.
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Long Term Effects of Braces with Poor Oral Hygiene
When you finally get your braces removed, you expect a beautiful smile with straight teeth much like the people you see in professional pictures. However, if you do not brush and floss your teeth everyday, you may be in for a shock at the state of your teeth once the braces are off.
Sure, they may be straight, but they may not be as healthy or clean as you imagine. Your teeth may be damaged due to cavities or they may also be stained yellow, brown, or a color other than white.
Tooth Decay with Braces
The brackets holding up the wire are “plaque-traps”, meaning it is very easy for plaque to accumulate there and difficult to clean off. Plaque contains bacteria, which will damage your teeth and gums. Eventually plaque can harden to tartar which will require a dentist to clean off.
If you are not flossing and brushing off as much plaque as you can, then the bacteria will wear down your tooth enamel and expose the dentin underneath. It can eventually cause cavities to form, in addition to gingivitis, periodontitis, and bone loss.
Why Are My Teeth Turning Yellow with Braces
Mentioned above, if your tooth enamel has been worn down and the dentin is exposed, then your teeth will appear yellow. The most common way your teeth can get stained is because of your diet. Foods that contain lots of dyes or are heavily colored can easily stain teeth. Some examples of such foods are coffee, sugary drinks, red wine, curry, and tomato paste.
If you are wondering how to keep teeth white with braces, it is simply to brush and floss daily. If you cannot brush your teeth right away after eating a food that can stain your teeth, try to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to limit contact with the dyes in the food.
Should you feel unhappy with the color of your teeth, then once your braces are off you can consider using a teeth whitening service offered by your dentist or orthodontist. It is much more effective than over-the-counter teeth whitening products and results are guaranteed. For more information, read our article about teeth whitening after braces.
Tips to Prevent Tooth Decay and Yellow or Brown Stains on Teeth with Braces
Normally brushing twice a day is enough, but if you have braces then we recommend brushing shortly after each meal. Brush for at least three minutes, making sure to focus on the area around the brackets where plaque often accumulates.
Use fluoridated toothpaste and do not use teeth whitening toothpaste, which are abrasive, can damage your enamel, and will not whiten the area beneath the brackets. Be sure to wait at least 30 minutes after each meal before brushing. Otherwise, the acids from the meal you ate may have a reaction with the toothpaste and damage your enamel.
Again, the general consensus is to floss only once or twice daily, but we recommend flossing after each meal if you have braces on. Floss will remove the plaque between teeth that the toothbrush cannot reach.
Between flossing and brushing, flossing is responsible for removing 40% of the plaque which is a substantial amount. With braces, the wire will get in the way of the dental floss. You will need to use a floss threader to get beneath the wire, or simply use a water flosser.
Eat Less Sugar
Acidic, sugary, and starchy foods are damaging for your teeth since they can lead to stains, plaque, and cavities. Furthermore, lots of sweets come in the form of hardened candies that can easily damage or get stuck on your braces. Generally, you should not be chewing hard foods even without braces since they can crack your teeth.
Visit Your Dentist
Dentists know how to clean around braces! They will be able to help you clean the areas that your toothbrush cannot reach, particularly the areas next to the brackets. Usually professional dental cleanings are done twice a year, but with braces you should go even more.
We cannot stress enough how important it is that you diligently brush and floss your teeth everyday, even more than when you didn’t have braces! Braces will create more areas where plaque can accumulate, and you need to constantly brush and flossing those areas to ensure they are clean.
In addition to that, watch what you eat to avoid stains. Heavily colored foods like coffee and curries can cause your teeth and braces to be stained an uneven color. Again, brushing and flossing can help with this, but try to avoid foods that stain your teeth in the first place.
By following the tips above, once your braces come off you will be shocked at how straight and beautiful your teeth are.