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.
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