The desire for white teeth has led many to explore various home and professional treatments. Whitening strips are a popular choice due to their convenience and effectiveness. These are thin plastic strips coated with a bleaching gel, designed to brighten teeth in a matter of weeks. However, there’s a question of their compatibility with braces. While braces are essential for aligning teeth, they might interfere with the whitening process.
This article examines the relationship between whitening strips and braces. By exploring the interactions between these dental tools, readers can make informed decisions about their oral health and appearance.
Can I Use Whitening Strips with Braces? Whitening with Braces
Whitening strips are thin, flexible plastic strips coated in a gel containing peroxide or other bleaching agents. They are applied directly to the teeth and left on for a specific amount of time, usually 30 minutes to an hour. The strips are removed, and the process is typically repeated daily for up to two weeks. This method is popular due to its convenience, affordability, and effectiveness in removing stains and brightening teeth.
While whitening strips are generally safe for teeth, using them with braces is not recommended. According to Healthline, braces can obstruct the even application of the whitening strips, leading to unevenly colored teeth when the braces are removed. Crest advises against using their Whitestrips on teeth with braces for similar reasons.
Potential Problems of Using Whitening Strips with Braces
Using whitening strips while wearing braces can lead to potential problems like uneven whitening which you should be aware of. It’s important to understand the implications of using whitening strips with braces to make an informed decision before starting the process.
Using whitening strips with braces may result in uneven tooth coloration. The strips might not be able to reach the areas covered by brackets, resulting in different shades of white on your teeth. Once the braces are removed, these disparities become more noticeable.
Whitening strips contain bleaching agents that can cause gum irritation and tooth sensitivity in some people. Putting the strips on teeth with braces may further exacerbate this discomfort, as the gums and teeth beneath the braces are already more susceptible to sensitivity.
Corrosion or Damage
The chemicals in whitening strips may cause damage to your braces. The bleaching agent in the strips can cause discoloration and corrosion of the metal brackets and wires, reducing the overall effectiveness of your orthodontic treatment.
Alternative Teeth Whitening Methods with Braces
Professional Dental Cleaning
One option to maintain a brighter smile while wearing braces is through regular professional dental cleaning. Dentists can remove plaque, tartar, and surface stains, helping to maintain your teeth’s appearance. Schedule cleanings every six months or as recommended by your dentist to keep your teeth looking their best.
Using Toothpaste and Mouthwashes Designed for Whitening
While wearing braces, consider using toothpaste and mouthwashes designed for whitening. These products contain ingredients that help to gradually remove surface stains and maintain overall tooth color. Look for ADA-approved toothpaste and mouthwash with whitening properties compatible with braces.
Foods That Naturally Help Keep Teeth White
Incorporating certain foods into your diet can help keep your teeth looking white while wearing braces:
- Dairy products: Cheese, yogurt, and milk contain calcium and phosphorus, which promote dental health and may aid in maintaining your teeth’s natural color.
- Strawberries: These berries contain malic acid, a natural whitening agent that can help remove stains on teeth.
- Pineapple: Contains bromelain, an enzyme that naturally cleans and whitens teeth.
- Shiitake Mushrooms: Contain lentinan, a type of sugar that inhibits the growth of bacteria that cause mouth odor and plaque.
Is It Safe to Use DIY Methods with Braces?
While professional whitening treatments are typically discouraged during orthodontic braces usage, many individuals are turning to home remedies such as oil pulling and baking soda for teeth-brightening solutions.
Baking soda is known for its plaque-removing properties. While it is abrasive, it’s not as hard as dental enamel and can remove plaque safely. However, when used with braces, it may be challenging to clean around the brackets and wires effectively, potentially leading to uneven whitening.
On the other hand, oil pulling is a traditional method that involves swishing oil, typically coconut oil, around the mouth to remove bacteria and maintain oral hygiene naturally. It is a gentle process that may not pose significant risks to braces. However, its effectiveness in whitening teeth, particularly for individuals with braces, is not well-established in scientific research.
Even if careful use of DIY whitening methods can be safe with braces, it is best to consult with your orthodontist beforehand.
After completing orthodontic treatment, many individuals consider teeth whitening to improve their smile further. The removal of braces often marks the beginning of a new phase: teeth whitening. Let’s explore the options available to those who have shed their braces.
Professional Teeth-Whitening Treatments Suitable for Post-Orthodontic Care
Once your braces have been taken off, there are several professional teeth-whitening treatments to consider:
- In-office bleaching: Often considered the most effective method, this treatment is carried out in a controlled dental environment. A dentist will apply a high-concentration whitening gel to the teeth. This gel, often activated with specialized lights or lasers, provides immediate and noticeable results, typically within a single session.
- Custom-fit trays: For those who prefer the convenience of at-home treatments, dentists can craft custom trays tailored to the unique shape of your teeth. These trays ensure even application of whitening gel, which you can use at your leisure. Over several applications, you’ll observe a progressive lightening of your teeth.
- Whitening toothpaste: For a more gradual approach, incorporating a professionally recommended whitening toothpaste can be beneficial. These kinds of toothpaste contain mild abrasives and other ingredients designed to target and remove surface stains from daily culprits like coffee, wine, and certain foods.
Maintenance of The Whitened Teeth After Braces
To maintain your newly whitened teeth after braces, follow these tips:
- Brush and floss regularly to maintain oral hygiene.
- Avoid consuming stain-causing foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, and red wine.
- Visit your dentist for regular cleanings to remove plaque and tartar buildup.
- Consider using a touch-up whitening treatment as recommended by your dentist.
Whitening your teeth with braces is possible, but it depends on the type of braces you have. Traditional metal braces are not the best candidates for teeth whitening strips, as these strips only whiten the exposed surfaces of your teeth and don’t penetrate the tooth enamel under the braces.
For those with traditional braces, it’s generally not recommended to use whitening treatments, as they could lead to uneven results when braces are eventually removed. Instead, you can focus on maintaining a healthy oral care routine and using cleaning aids such as interproximal brushes for better hygiene.
If you have other types of braces, like clear aligners or ceramic braces, you may be able to use certain whitening options such as whitening toothpaste, gels, or at-home bleaching treatments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use Crest White Strips with braces?
It’s generally advisable to avoid using teeth whitening products, such as Crest White Strips, while you have braces. This is because these products can whiten the exposed portions of your teeth, while the areas covered by brackets and wires won’t be affected by the whitening, leading to noticeable differences in tooth color. For consistent and even results, it’s best to wait until after your braces are removed before pursuing teeth whitening treatments.
How can I whiten my teeth with braces on?
Whitening your teeth while wearing braces requires careful consideration. Traditional whitening methods like strips and gels can’t effectively reach areas covered by brackets and wires, leading to uneven results. However, you can maintain good oral hygiene by using whitening toothpaste and avoiding staining foods and drinks. Once your braces are removed, you can explore professional whitening options for consistent results.
Do whitening strips remove braces stains?
Yes, once your braces are removed, whitening strips can be effective in addressing stains that may have accumulated around the brackets and wires. They can help lighten the overall color of your teeth, including areas previously covered by braces. However, results may vary based on staining severity and strip effectiveness.
When should you not use whitening strips?
You should avoid using whitening strips if you have active gum disease, untreated cavities, or tooth sensitivity. Additionally, pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult their dentist before using these products.
If you have dental restorations like crowns, veneers, or bonding on your front teeth, be cautious as whitening strips might not be effective on these areas.
How to whiten your teeth with braces at home?
Whitening your teeth at home while wearing braces requires a cautious approach. Here’s how you can do it:
Wait for Professional Guidance: Consult your orthodontist or dentist before starting any whitening treatment to ensure it’s safe for your specific case.
Maintain Oral Hygiene: Brush and floss regularly to prevent plaque buildup around brackets and wires, which can lead to uneven whitening.
Whitening Toothpaste: Use a whitening toothpaste that is safe for braces to gradually remove surface stains.
Avoid Staining Foods: Minimize consumption of foods and drinks that can stain teeth, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and dark-colored foods.
Oil Pulling: Some people find oil pulling with coconut oil helps remove surface stains. Do it gently to avoid dislodging brackets.
Baking Soda: Make a paste of baking soda and water, apply it gently to teeth, and brush. Avoid using this method frequently.
Professional Whitening After Braces: Consider professional teeth whitening once your braces are removed for consistent and even results.
Can I use whitening toothpaste with braces?
Yes, you can use whitening toothpaste with braces, but it’s important to do so cautiously. Whitening toothpaste can help remove surface stains from your teeth, including the areas not covered by brackets and wires. However, you should keep a few things in mind:
Avoid Excessive Scrubbing: Be gentle while brushing to avoid damaging brackets or wires. Brush around the brackets and wires, focusing on the exposed tooth surfaces.
Use Fluoride Toothpaste: Opt for a whitening toothpaste that also contains fluoride to strengthen your tooth enamel and prevent decay.
Maintain Oral Hygiene: Continue to follow proper oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings, to ensure the health of your teeth and braces.
How soon after getting braces off can I use whitening strips?
After getting your braces off, it’s generally recommended to wait a few weeks before using whitening strips. This allows your teeth and gums to adjust to the absence of braces and any potential sensitivity to subside.
It’s also recommended to consult your orthodontist before starting any teeth whitening procedure. They can provide personalized guidance based on your oral health and the condition of your teeth. Once you receive the green light, you can safely use whitening strips.
Are there any safe home remedies for teeth whitening while wearing braces?
While wearing braces, it’s important to approach teeth whitening cautiously to avoid damaging your braces or causing uneven results. Safe options include maintaining good oral hygiene to prevent stains, using a whitening toothpaste approved for braces, and occasionally rinsing with a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution (1:1 with water). Oil pulling with coconut oil and brushing gently with a baking soda paste may also help with mild surface stains.