Ceramic braces are braces that are made to easily blend in with your teeth, making them almost unnoticeable.
Unlike with traditional metallic braces, the brackets on ceramic braces match the color of your teeth. However, as much as we would like to have these unique ceramic braces, they stain easily if not well taken care of. You need to know the factors that lead to staining beforehand. Unfortunately, some people learn through experience which should never be the case.
Do Ceramic Braces Really Stain?
A common misconception is to think that ceramic brackets are the parts people refer to when saying that ceramic braces are easily stain. The truth is that it is not that easy to stain ceramic brackets. Those are way easier to stain than metal brackets, but as technology progresses the manufacturers work hard to make them more and more stain resistant. The parts that are really easy to get stains on are the elastic ligatures which hold the archwires attached to the brackets.
Since the hall point of ceramic braces is to make them discrete, the elastic ligatures used with them are usually clear or tooth colored. Clear elastics are the ones most subjected to color degradation.
For those of you in the process of getting braces, there is now an option to go for self-ligating ceramic braces. Self-ligating braces don't require elastic ligatures and, therefore, are much more resistant to stains. You can read about the self-ligating system at our Damon braces article.
How to Prevent Ceramic Braces From Staining?
Keeping your braces stain free is basically a matter of good oral hygiene. The better you are at following the below guidelines the fewer are the chances of you having to deal with stains on your braces.
#1 Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal
This cannot be emphasized enough. This is a practice that should be trained even to small children due to its importance. Making it a habit to brush your teeth with braces immediately after meals ensures that the food color and flavors are washed off, leaving the mouth clean. This will also prevent tooth decay which risk is higher due to food getting trapped in between brackets.
#2 Floss and Rinse Frequently
Flossing and rinsing your mouth with mouthwash * ensures that all the dirt, in all the hard to reach places, are well cleaned. Failure to do this properly will cause the ceramic braces to discolor and eventually stain. Flossing after snacks will also help your teeth and brackets are to stay clean and reduce their chances of staining.
Using a Waterpik * can make the flossing procedure easier and sometimes more effective.
#3 Stop Smoking
Smoking is one of the most harmful practices that ruins oral hygiene. Not only does it discolor and stain your teeth, the cigarette smoke also ruins the color of your ceramic braces. Nicotine also gives the ligatures a yellow color which is very unattractive. The worst thing about cigarette smoking and nicotine staining your teeth is that it causes deep stains that are very hard to remove.
#4 Avoid Some Foods
Unfortunately, people learn which foods they have to stay away from, the hard way. Foods with tomatoes and tomato paste should be kept away from people with ceramic braces. The red color is very strong for the ceramic brackets. Mustard is also a no-no as the yellow instantly stains the brackets. It is also advisable to keep off of food with food color as this is obviously a recipe for disaster. Coffee and dark colored drinks like soda are also to be avoided.
Here is a more comprehensive list of foods that can cause stains:
- Turmeric & Curry
- Tomatoes & Tomato Pastes
- Red Wine
- Berries: Blueberries, Cranberries, Blackberries...
- Soda Drinks
- Popsicles & Slushies
- Soy Sauce & Balsamic Vinegar
- Food Spices
- Colored Candy
- Drinking the staining beverages through a straw can help to avoid the stains.
#5 Keep Off Whitening Toothpastes
Most people assume whitening toothpaste is best to keep the ceramic braces stain free but this is actually a bad idea. Your teeth will, of course, be whitened and so will your brackets. However, the truth of the matter will be revealed when the brackets get removed. You can say goodbye to smiling as you will have spots on your teeth where the brackets used to be. These are the areas that the toothpaste didn’t reach. Simply use ordinary toothpaste * frequently after meals to keep your brackets stain free.
#6 Get Your Ligatures Changed Frequently
These are the elastic ties * around your brackets. In most cases, the ligatures of the ceramic braces are clear. They are easily stained so it is advisable to only have them long enough. Have them removed and replaced to keep them from staining and giving you a tainted look.
In case you are not trying to be discrete with your braces, consider selecting ligatures that are not clear or white. Elastic bands come in a variety of colors. Darker colors are harder to stain. Try colors such as blue and gray. These colors blend in better and resist staining more than white ligatures. You can also choose multiple braces colors if desired for a stylish effect.
The brand of your ligatures can also influence their proneness to stains. According to this research, clear ligatures by American Orthodontics were the ones with a smaller risk of staining than the other ligatures examined.
#7 Keep Your Doctor’s Appointment
Always honor your dentists’ appointment when need be. During these appointments, your ligatures will be replaced. The appointments usually scheduled after every four to six weeks. This gives you a fresh look as the previous stained elastics get replaced with new ones. The dentist will also take this opportunity to adjust your braces and look at the condition of the ceramic brackets. Skipping these appointments will definitely set you back in progress.
Taking care of your ceramic braces will keep them stain free and good looking for longer. If you feel that your manual brushing technique is not the best, choose to go for an electric toothbrush as it cleans in a more systematic manner. Chances of leaving out some places are reduced.
If you liked our article, please share it and use the comment section below to tell us about your experiences or ask any questions. Thanks!
Thanks , Really appreciated for the tips, which is very beneficial.
Hello, Anitha Desai!
Thank you too. You’re welcome at our website!
Why do ceramic braces have an appearance of ‘ whitish looking film on your teeth’ ?
I’m glad you asked, others have the same question.
Do you have an actual film on your teeth? Or does it just look like it?
If it’s just an appearance, it could be that the braces don’t match your teeth. The color contrast makes a big difference and that may be what you see.
If there is an actual film, then you need to see your dentist. That’s a sign of a bacterial overgrowth, which is bad. We definitely recommend talking to your dentist if there is a film.
what kind of food should be prevented for bonded retainer
This is a tricky question because some food banned for one person can be just fine for others.
Typically, you will want to avoid eating foods that are sticky, chewy, and overly hard. Candy and nuts are the big ones. Eating these foods could rip the retainer right out of your mouth. The level of crunch and stick will be determined by your specific issues and retainer.
You also want to take small bites. This way, you can chew your food thoroughly and avoid getting it stuck. Big bites could catch on the retainer and the simple act of chewing could damage it.
Of course, the danger of this is higher when it is new. As you become used to it, the risk decreases but will not completely go away.
You also want to increase your dental hygiene. Caring for your retainer is of the upmost importance. Bits of food left stuck between your retainer and teeth are hotspots for cavities and other damage. You could undo all the good work of straightening your teeth if it has to be pulled because of not brushing.
Even with the progress of dentistry, I’m surprised that we still don’t have some way to really cover up braces. Even with ceramics and clear braces it is hard not to notice that something is stuck up in the teeth. Maybe a few years from now we will have something better.
But hey I’m glad ceramics are better than those metallic braces.
Hey, Tim! Thanks for the thoughts.
There are some technologies, like Invisalign, that are fairly invisible. Braces, however, are not.
The problem stems from the complex attachments within teeth. There are too many blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues to go to each tooth to be able to really add lots of equipment invisibly. What dentists do add are tightly control and as small as possible. They still need to work individually on each tooth.
Maybe in the future, we’ll have something better. But, for now, this is the best we have.
Hi!! Thank you so much for putting up this article. I just got my clear braces on today and was wondering what foods I couldn’t eat and this was very beneficial. I had two questions, can I still drink icee’s if I brush my teeth right after and what should I do if my braces start to stain?
Thanks for the compliment, you’re welcome! While Icee’s are a good treat, we don’t recommend sugary foods when you have braces. The chemical food colorings that are used in the Icee’s are all known for causing stains, not to mention liver damage, which is another reason you should avoid them. We have some good recipes for fruit juices and smoothies, which we think is much better than the Icee’s, over here at our partner website. As general, any consumable that has a strong color like mustard, ketchup, curry, coffee, tea, cola, blueberries, and tobacco products have the potential to stain your braces.
If you do drink some, do rinse your mouth right after with water so you won’t have Icee’s and sugar taste in your mouth. I don’t think brushing your teeth too often will benefit you. You can damage your gums applying constant pressure.
For the second part of your question, there are 3 working parts in your braces: elastic ligatures or bands, metal archwire and ceramic clear brackets. The elastic ligatures or bands are the part of braces that is easily stained. You can easily change the elastic ligatures on any of your doctor’s visits and get a fresh, clean start. You can request tie wires that do not stain at all. The actual metal archwire which is made of special materials such as nickel titanium or high-grade stainless steel is much harder to be stained. As for the ceramic clear brackets, they are probably made of a monocrystalline sapphire material that is non-porous and resistant to staining and absorbing odors. But if they were stained anyway, your orthodontist can assist you. He/she can use professional-strength whitening products and remove the excess bonding material. In any way, it’s worth to visit your orthodontist and make these procedures above.
Hope it helps.
I got my ceramics braces 10day before i brush after every single meal,but my braces are getting yellow plz tell me wht should i do to remove stain
Many color changes are caused by highly colored foods and drinks.
Even though you brush, the colorings within the food can stay in your braces at a deep level.
We recommend you eliminate all chemical colors and stick with natural ones.
We also recommend you take care around strongly colored herbs and spices, especially turmeric.
Also, talk to your orthodontist. They may have a toothpaste that will help whiten the ceramics on your braces.
I also had the same braces ..but it is getting stained because I smoke..What do i do?
Hi, Dark anzan!
You have 3 working parts in your ceramic braces: elastic ligatures or bands, ceramic brackets, and metal archwire. Staining of the elastic bands can be remedied easily by changing the bands by your orthodontist. You can request tie wires that do not stain at all.
The metal archwire is fabricated from several alloys, most commonly stainless steel, nickel-titanium alloy, beta-titanium alloy, and is much harder to be stained.
When it comes to ceramic brackets, there is nothing we have found that actually works to remove smoke stains. The chemicals that come out of a cigarette are some of the hardest to remove from any surface. You can ask your orthodontist for help. Or alternatively, rinse your mouth with a solution of water and a little bit of baking soda. There is no guarantee it will work but as general, this is the method of removing cigarette stains.
Can you use activated charcoal while you have clear braces for whitening teeth or will it leave a mark where your braces are my teeth look yellow
Activated charcoal works very well for whitening teeth, but we do not recommend you use it with braces.
Because of the abrasive nature of the charcoal, it could cause scratches on the braces and may dislodge the adhesive between the braces and your teeth.
Talk with your dentist to discuss using the activated charcoal or other whitening methods.
Can I use whitening mouthwash while I’m wearing ceramic braces ??
This is a question a lot of people have.
And the best answer we can give you is maybe.
Some braces will allow you to use a whitening mouthwash, while others will not.
You will have to direct this question to your orthodontist, as they will know which specific type of braces you are using and how the whitening mouthwash will affect it.
They may have a specific brand that works better than others, so we really do recommend asking.
What toothpaste do you recommend for ceramic braces? Also, do you recommend brushing your teeth immediately after meals? Because I heard that is bad for you? Btw are ceramic braces weaker than traditional metal braces?
These are good questions. We recommend talking to your orthodontist and see what type of toothpaste they specifically advice for your braces. Certain types of toothpaste work better with different braces. As general, you should use fluoride toothpaste without whitening effect. This is because once the braces are removed, the enamel would be several different colors if you used whitening toothpaste.
In most cases, ceramic braces are equal to metal braces. Certain conditions require metal braces, while others need ceramic braces. You should talk to your orthodontist about why they are choosing the type of braces they are. Most dentists agree that you should not brush your teeth immediately after eating, but you should wait at least 30 minutes. We don’t recommend waiting more than an hour. This allows the digestive enzymes in your mouth to break down any leftover particles of food and for your salivary glands to reduce the output of saliva. The saliva in your mouth will wash away most acids which could be damaging to your teeth if you brush right away.
Yes, ceramic braces are bit weaker than traditional metal braces and can break when too much pressure is applied. They’re best to use only in cases of minor teeth correction.