We hear the question of “Can whitening products be used while wearing braces?” a lot. The short answer is, yes, but there are certain things to keep in mind before any attempt is made. Always follow your orthodontist’s instructions on how to clean and take care of your teeth and braces during treatment. Though whitening your teeth with braces presents a few unique challenges, it is possible.
Can You Whiten Teeth With Braces On?
Whitening your teeth while wearing braces must be done carefully as you can quickly end up with yellow spots beneath the brackets once the braces are removed. Whitening products will only reach the exposed parts of your teeth, leaving anything under a bracket untouched. For this reason alone, it may be wise to wait until your braces come off before whitening your teeth.
Teeth Whitening at the Dentist
Professional teeth whitening treatments performed by a dental office are incredibly efficient and effective. Often only requiring one or two visits, this whitening process is commonly referred to as an in-office whitening treatment. A dental professional will apply a powerful bleaching agent to your teeth. A special light will then be used to speed up the whitening process.
This whitening method is strong and effective, so it’s possible that you would notice yellow spots on your teeth after your braces come off. For this reason, we do not recommend professional whitening treatments to patients who are still wearing braces.
Whitening at Home
You don’t have to visit your dentist to achieve a bright, white smile. There are many effective ways to whiten your teeth at home while wearing braces, and after your treatment is complete.
The most effective way to keep your teeth healthy and white is to care for your smile properly. Avoid yellow teeth by brushing 2-3 times a day while wearing braces, and especially after meals. You should also floss each day and avoid staining foods and beverages during orthodontic treatment.
All kinds of toothpaste can help to whiten your teeth, even if it’s not labeled as a whitening toothpaste. Toothpaste, in general, is designed to help remove surface stains and strengthen your tooth enamel. Unlike regular toothpaste, whitening toothpaste can help to whiten your smile because of its ability to go deeper than surface stains.
Natural Teeth Whitening Remedies
Whitening products do contain chemicals in them, making many patients looking for a more natural approach to whiten their smile. Coconut oil has been known to brighten teeth using a method called “oil pulling.” Take a tablespoon of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for 5-15 minutes in the morning before brushing your teeth. Oil pulling with braces allows for the oil to seep under the braces and potentially help to keep the area beneath the brackets white in addition to the rest of your exposed enamel.
Side Effects of Whitening Teeth While Wearing Braces
Whether or not you whiten your teeth with braces, increased tooth sensitivity can always be a side effect of whitening. You may notice minor pain or discomfort in your teeth or gums, especially when drinking hot or cold liquids, eating sweets, or while brushing your teeth.
As previously mentioned, the main issue with whitening your teeth while wearing braces is that you could end up with yellow spots where the brackets were attached once the braces are removed. Brackets are glued to your teeth, making any whitening product unable to reach the area of the tooth beneath the glue.
Because of these side effects, Thomas Orthodontics recommends our patients be patient in waiting until braces are removed before attempting to whiten their teeth. If you’re concerned with the color of your teeth while wearing braces, ask us for any helpful tips or tricks at your next appointment.