Can You Whiten Teeth with Braces On?

Whitening your teeth may be something you do regularly, or maybe you’re just starting to notice that your teeth are looking dull. Braces can sometimes cause teeth to become discolored more easily as food and plaque are more likely to build up. As you begin to notice that your teeth are looking less white lately, you may be wondering what you can do about it. Can you whiten teeth with braces on? 

This is certainly a question to consider, because having braces changes a lot about the way you care for your teeth. Here’s what you need to know about whitening teeth and braces care

First Consideration: The Type of Braces You Have

A big factor in whether or not you can whiten your teeth with braces is what type you have. Whitening treatments are safest and provide the best results for patients with lingual braces (the brackets are attached to the back side of the teeth) or removable aligners. These two types allow you to freely whiten your teeth without worrying about creating uneven coloring. 

Metal brackets or clear brackets that attach to the front side of your teeth pose a risk when it comes to whitening. Depending on the degree of whitening, your teeth may be a different color under the brackets when they are removed. You can potentially even this out afterwards, but it may be more difficult. 

Second Consideration: The Type of Whitening Treatment 

Another factor in teeth whitening with braces is the type of whitening treatment you use. White strips that wrap around the teeth may work for removal aligners and lingual braces, but won’t fit properly with metal or clear brackets attached to the front of your teeth. 

Professional grade whitening treatment provided by your dentist at an in-office appointment can be applied around your brackets. But these treatments tend to provide dramatic results that may be significantly lighter than the portion of each tooth that is under the bracket. Take-home whitening trays are typically custom made, but won’t fit properly with brackets on the front of your teeth. They will still work with removable aligners or lingual braces. 

Whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes may be your safest bet for whitening your teeth with metal or clear brackets. You can use them when you brush your teeth to remove surface stains, but you won’t see the dramatic results that professional products with strong bleaching agents provide. This allows you to brighten your teeth without drastic differences between the color of your teeth around and under your brackets when you get them removed. 

How To Prevent or Reduce Discoloration of Your Teeth

Since teeth whitening with braces can be tricky, it may be in your best interest to try and avoid teeth staining in the first place. While you have braces, and any other time, avoid foods and beverages that are known for staining teeth. Examples include:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Soft drinks
  • Red wine
  • Grape juice 
  • Tomato sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Chocolate
  • Artificially dyed foods 

These items are best to avoid while wearing braces because the opposite effect of whitening with braces could occur. Instead of the area around the brackets being whiter than the area under the brackets, the exposed portion of the teeth may be darker than the portion under your brackets once they are removed. 

Ask Lake Minnetonka Orthodontics Before Whitening Your Teeth

If you want to know whether or not you should whiten your teeth while wearing braces, talk to your orthodontist. Lake Minnetonka Orthodontics will provide you with a recommendation regarding teeth whitening treatment that is in your best interest and the best interest of your orthodontic treatment

Contact us at one of our 3 convenient locations to schedule an appointment.