If you have braces, you may have the urge to also take care of whitening your smile.
“That way,” you think, “I can get everything done at once.”
But hold up. Is that really the best way to do this? Should you whiten your teeth while wearing braces, or is it better to wait until they’re off?
Those are exactly the questions we’ll answer in this guide.
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Can You Whiten Teeth With Braces On?
If you have braces, you may be worrying about light spots on your teeth. This is when the space beneath the braces brackets ends up being whiter than the surrounding tooth. It can happen if your teeth aren’t properly taken care of.
The question is: can you whiten your teeth while wearing braces?
Yes, you can. But first, there are some things to keep in mind. Always follow your orthodontist’s instructions on cleaning and caring for your teeth and braces. And try to cut back on drinking coffee and red wine, which are known to discolor teeth.
On top of that, you can bleach your teeth with some sort of whitening product, even though you’re wearing braces.
But you should also know that whitening teeth with braces can swing the other way and cause you to have yellow spots beneath the brackets. That’s because the whitening product will only reach the exposed parts of your teeth.
For these reasons, it may be better to wait until your braces come off before whitening your teeth. However, if you’ve gotten lingual braces, which are placed on the back of your teeth, whitening is a perfectly fine option. If there are yellow spots, they’ll be where no one can see them.
Whitening Teeth With Braces At Dentist Office
If you go to a professional for teeth whitening, you may only need one or two visits to the office.
With this process, which is often called a “chairside bleaching” or an “in-office whitening,” the dental professional will apply a very strong bleaching agent to your teeth. Then they’ll use a special light to speed up the whitening process.
This whitening method is especially strong and effective, so it’s very possible you’ll notice yellow spots after your braces come off. But again, if you have lingual braces, you should be able to whiten without any worry of visible yellow spots.
How To Whiten Teeth With Braces At Home?
What if you can’t afford a professional teeth whitening? Isn’t there a way to do this yourself?
Of course! Here are some ways to whiten your teeth at home while wearing braces.
You should also floss each day and avoid staining agents like coffee and red wine.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you whiten your teeth with braces — if you don’t take care of them, they won’t be in good condition and may continue to stay yellow.
If you’d rather avoid off-the-shelf whitening products because of the chemicals in them, there are some natural teeth whitening remedies for discolored teeth.
Coconut oil has been known, anecdotally, to brighten your smile. It’s typically called “oil pulling.” Simply take a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for 5-15 minutes in the morning before brushing.
The oil can seep under the braces and potentially keep the area beneath the brackets white as well as the rest of your enamel.
Another option is apple cider vinegar. Just mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup of water and swish that mixture around in your mouth for about 30 seconds.
Then rinse your mouth with water for another 30 seconds. This is said to whiten teeth and reduce yellowness.
It’s best to do this no more than twice a week, mainly because the acidity in apple cider vinegar. Too much acid in the mouth is not a good thing.
And lastly, you can use a mixture of salt and baking soda to whiten your teeth. Salt can help demineralized teeth and baking soda, as we all know, can be use to clean a plethora of things. When you combine these two ingredients, they can apparently whiten teeth.
Mix together half a teaspoon of baking soda, a half a teaspoon of rock salt, and 1/4 cup of water. Stir it up until everything is dissolved then swish that mixture in your mouth for about 30 seconds. Then rinse your mouth with water for about 30 seconds. You can repeat this process 3-4 times per week.
Over The Counter Whitening Products
Regardless of the type of toothpaste you use, even if it’s not a whitening toothpaste, it can help whiten your teeth. All toothpastes help remove surface stains and strengthen enamel.
Unlike regular toothpaste, whitening toothpastes, can actually change the color of your teeth because they go deeper than surface stains.
You can also look into whitening strips, which are pieces of plastic infused with some sort of whitening agent that fit over your teeth. You’d typically wear them for a short amount of time during day, maybe 30-60 minutes.
Side Effects Of Whitening Teeth With Braces
Whether or not you whiten your teeth with braces, increased sensitivity can be an issue. After whitening, you may notice some pain or discomfort in your teeth or gums, especially when drinking hot or cold drinks, eating sweet foods, and brushing your teeth.
The reason for this is because some whitening agents that include peroxide bleach through the enamel, exposing the nerves beneath. Fortunately, there are special toothpastes that are made for whitening for sensitive teeth.
Another issue with whitening your teeth while wearing braces is that you could end up with yellow spots where the brackets were attached. The brackets are glued to your teeth, so any whitening product won’t be able to get to the area of tooth beneath the glue. So your entire tooth gets whiter except for the area under the brackets, thus leading to a yellow spot on each tooth.
Because of these side effects, it’s best to wait until your braces come off before whitening your teeth. That way, you can evenly brighten your smile and avoid any additional discomfort.
On the other hand, if you have lingual braces, you should be fine to whiten your smile. Any yellow spots will appear on the backside of the teeth where no one can see them.
- It’s safe to whiten your teeth with braces, but it may be more effective to wait until the braces have come off. That way, you can avoid yellow spots on your teeth.
- A professional teeth whitening is very effective, but it can cost quite a bit of money and you can still end up with yellow spots where the brackets once were.
- The best way to keep your smile bright is by brushing 2-3 times a day with regular toothpaste. You can also use at-home teeth whitening methods, like coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and a mixture of salt and baking soda. And then of course, you can go to your local drug store or pharmacy and get a teeth whitening toothpaste or whitening strips.
- With regular, front-facing braces, the most common side effects are increase sensitivity in the gums and teeth as well as yellow spots where the brackets are attached to the teeth.