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How to Whiten Teeth With Braces: Bleaching, Toothpastes, and More

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teeth whitening with braces
It depends on the type of braces you have

Are you wondering how to whiten your teeth with braces? It can be a challenge because the metal brackets get in the way. Plus, you want your teeth to be all the same color when your braces are removed.

In general, it's not recommended to use whitening treatments during treatment with traditional braces. However, there are other ways you can keep your teeth clean, healthy, and maybe even a bit brighter until you get your braces off.

After you no longer have your brackets, then you can think about professional bleaching or at-home whitening kits.

In this article we'll talk about:

  • If you can whiten your teeth with braces
  • If you can whiten your teeth with aligners
  • How to keep your teeth white when wearing braces
  • …and more!

Can I whiten my teeth while wearing braces?

You can whiten your teeth while undergoing orthodontic treatment, although it depends on the type of braces that you have. Not all whitening products will work with traditional braces.

The most common whitening options include whitening gel, whitening strips, or whitening toothpaste. The problem with these treatments is that they won't be able to reach under the brackets, leaving you with darker spots when you do get your braces off.

In some cases, it may be okay to try whitening with lingual braces, depending on the system you use because the brackets are attached behind the tooth. Talk to your ortho about cost. And if you are using clear removable aligners, you're in luck!

They can be taken out for short periods of time, so you can use strips, gels, and whitening kits. In fact, many at-home aligner brands come with whitening treatments.

Best ways to keep teeth white while wearing braces

  • Make sure that you have a good toothbrush: Toothbrush heads should be replaced every three months. You may want to consider an electric one, as many people find that they are more efficient in removing plaque from brackets and wires. Traditional toothbrushes work just fine as well — the most important thing is to brush at least twice daily with the proper technique.
  • Floss daily: When you are done brushing your teeth, you should take the time to floss. It can be frustrating with braces, but it will reduce the amount of plaque in your mouth, which can help keep your teeth white and healthy. The ADA recommends flossing once daily. If you aren't comfortable flossing with braces, you can try a water pick. This tool is effective at dislodging food from your braces.
  • Use a fluoride mouthwash: People with braces are more likely to get cavities because the brackets can hold onto food particles. Using a fluoride mouthwash can help keep your enamel healthy and clean while reducing your risk of getting a cavity. It's best not to use mouthwash right after brushing your teeth because this can actually rinse away the beneficial ingredients from your toothpaste.

Don't use whitening products with brackets

All in all, it's probably best to refrain from using whitening treatments when you have traditional braces with brackets on the front of your teeth. Otherwise, when you do get your braces off, you might just have little darker squares on each of your teeth where the brackets were.

The upside is that at least you know your whitening treatment worked!

If you are using clear aligners, you can take them off whenever you want. That makes it much easier to use teeth whitening products because you don't have to worry about uneven coloration.

More questions about whitening with braces

How can I whiten my yellow teeth with braces?

whiten teeth with braces
Brushing your teeth is the best thing you can do

If you are using lingual braces or aligners, you can use several at-home whitening options. There are whitening gels, toothpaste, and at-home kits with LED lights. You could even have your teeth professionally whitened through in-office bleaching.

If you have traditional wires and brackets, it's essential to take good care of your oral hygiene. Doing so will help reduce the amount of staining you have to deal with when they come off.

Use a non-whitening toothpaste with fluoride and brush two times per day. Then, make sure that you floss your smile before bed. There are different tools you can use to facilitate the process, such as a threader or water pick.

Why are my teeth turning yellow with braces?

Your teeth are more susceptible to staining when you have traditional braces because it can be harder to clean around the brackets and floss underneath the wires. By avoiding certain food and drinks, like chocolate, coffee, and wine, you can help keep your smile free from yellow stains.

Which whitening options are safe to use while wearing braces?

It will depend on the type of orthodontic treatment you are using. With lingual braces or removable aligners, you can use just about any method that you prefer. But, with traditional metal braces, you can't use whitening strips or trays without uneven bleaching.

Can I schedule an in-office dental whitening treatment with braces?

You can if you have removable or lingual braces. However, your dentist will likely advise that you wait until you have traditional braces taken off so they don't become discolored underneath.

Conclusion

As long as you brush and floss properly while you have braces, you shouldn't deal with a significant increase in enamel staining.

Whitening products aren't recommended during treatment with traditional braces, as they can result in non-uniform coloring because they won't reach under the brackets.

It is better to wait until you get your braces off if you want to pursue teeth whitening treatments and focus on keeping your enamel healthy in the meantime.

If you have removable aligners or lingual braces, you can still whiten your teeth during treatment with braces.

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Contributors:
Natalie Asmussen
Natalie Asmussen
Natalie Asmussen on LinkedinNatalie Asmussen on Website
Natalie used to work as a Community Health Worker and Health Insurance Navigator. She continues to follow her passion for connecting people with the healthcare they need by writing informative content about dentistry and medicine.