Patients often ask if they are likely to see stains on their teeth after their braces have been removed. The short answer is no if you follow good oral hygiene and diet. Plaque and food not cleaned from teeth can cause permanent, unsightly marks on any teeth.
How Teeth Staining Occurs
Stains can appear on anyone’s teeth. But staining can be more noticeable for someone who has worn braces because the stains may be worse on the part of the tooth not covered by the brace. By being diligent about your diet and teeth cleaning you can avoid stains.
Many caffeinated drinks contain tannins which stain and discolour teeth. The acidity in these drinks also alters the pH balance in the mouth making teeth more at risk of acid attack from foods eaten after. Acidic foods and drinks can give teeth a yellow tinge. The acid in foods erodes the enamel which exposes the yellow-hued dentin underneath.
Food and drink high in sugar feed the bacteria in your mouth causing the release of damaging acids. Carbonated drinks have the added harm of being acidic.
Highly pigmented foods like berries can leave the same stain on your teeth as you see on your skin while eating.
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Food and Drinks to Avoid
Many foods and drinks consumed on a daily basis can cause teeth staining. Coffee, tea, red wine, cool drink, sports drinks, berries and citrus are some of the main culprits. Reducing or cutting out these will greatly reduce your chance of teeth staining. Making changes such as switching from black tea or coffee to white can also help reduced staining.
If you do indulge in sugary foods and drinks, limit them to meal time rather than between meals. Eating three meals a day rather than snacking between meals is better for your teeth.
Keeping Teeth Clean
Oral hygiene and teeth brushing become even more important once you have had your braces fitted. Your orthodontist will give you thorough training on how to brush and floss your teeth round your braces. At each appointment we will check that your teeth are being cleaned properly and remind you of the importance so that staining won’t occur.
1. Brush your teeth two to three times per day. An electric toothbrush can help loosen more plaque than a traditional toothbrush.
2. Flossing daily to stop plaque building up between teeth and brackets.
3. See your regular dentist at least every six months for a thorough clean.
Being vigilant about what you eat and drink and how you brush your teeth will ensure you have perfectly healthy, stain-free teeth when your braces are removed.