How to Keep Clear Braces from Turning Yellow
Clear braces are a popular choice among orthodontic patients. Clear braces utilize the same techniques as traditional orthodontics to provide effective teeth straightening results. However, they do so without metal brackets and wires. Instead, clear braces use a series of ceramic, tooth-colored brackets and clear wires.
Clear braces are more discreet than traditional braces, provided they stay that way. Unfortunately, if clear braces are not cared for properly, they could become discolored. Here, orthodontist Kellyn Hodges, who serves individuals from Philadelphia, PA, Cynwyd, PA, and Bensalem, PA, offers tips to keep clear braces from turning yellow, so that patients can enjoy the aesthetic benefits of this traditional braces alternative.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits
Good oral hygiene habits are essential regardless of what type or orthodontic treatment a patient is undergoing. However, since there are concerns regarding staining or discoloration with clear braces, these practices become especially important. Fortunately, the ceramics used to fabricate the brackets for clear braces are highly resistant to staining, so they are unlikely to become discolored as long as patients care for their teeth and gums properly. We recommend these oral hygiene practices:
- Brush the teeth at least twice a day (and ideally after each meal)
- Floss nightly
- When the teeth cannot be brushed after eating a meal or snack, rinse the mouth with water
- Drink lots of water throughout the day
- Continue to schedule biannual dental exams and cleanings throughout orthodontic treatment
Avoid Highly Staining Foods and Beverages
Braces are susceptible to damage, so patients are given a list of foods that should be avoided throughout braces treatment. In addition to avoiding foods that could stick to braces or damage brackets or wires, individuals who opt for clear braces should also stay away from foods and beverages that are highly staining, such as:
- Red wine
- Tomato-based products (spaghetti sauce, ketchup, etc.)
- Dark colas
- Soy sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Foods with artificial dyes
While it is best to avoid these types of foods and beverages, they can be consumed in moderation. However, after consuming staining foods or beverages it is imperative to brush the teeth and rinse the mouth as soon as possible.
Refrain From Smoking
Smoking has many negative effects on the body, one of which is its ability to stain the teeth (or clear braces). Nicotine can result in yellow discoloration, while tar can create brown spots or stains. It is best to quit smoking altogether when wearing clear braces, but if quitting is too difficult, patients must be very vigilant about their oral hygiene habits.
Replace Orthodontic Appliances as Recommended
Since ceramic braces brackets are naturally resistant to stains, the discoloration that patients complain of when wearing clear braces is usually caused by other braces appliances, like rubber bands. Fortunately, rubber bands are not meant to be worn for extended periods of time, because they stretch out and lose their effectiveness. One of the best ways for clear braces patients to prevent braces or the smile from looking yellow is to attend all scheduled orthodontic check-ups and replace orthodontic appliances as recommended.
Dr. Kellyn Hodges offers a number of orthodontic treatments to meet each patient’s unique needs and preferences. If you would like to learn more about our treatment options and determine which may be right for you, we invite you to contact us online to schedule an appointment, or call (215) 245-5100 at your earliest convenience.