A bright, beautiful smile is something that we all want. Your orthodontic journey is a great step towards a lifelong smile that you’re always going to love. One question that Dr. Harris often hears is, “Can I whiten my teeth during orthodontic treatment?” Keep reading to find out the best – and most healthy way – to get the look you want while you have braces.


Can I Whiten with Braces?

So, here’s the thing… whitening your teeth while you’re wearing braces is generally not a good idea. Think about it. If you’ve got brackets adhered to your teeth, the whitening agents are not going to reach the areas that are covered by the brackets. There is a chance for discoloration to be left in the areas where the whitener didn’t reach. There is also a chance that harsh bleaches or white strips could damage your braces.

Can I Whiten with Invisalign®?

Good news – If you have Invisalign® trays instead of traditional metal braces, then it is usually okay to whiten your teeth! Be sure to follow the directions exactly and discontinue use if you experience any major sensitivity. Also – be sure that you never use your aligners as whitening trays. Although they may look very similar to the trays that people use to whiten their teeth, bleach will damage your aligners.

Do Braces Make Teeth Stain?

Braces themselves do not stain teeth. However, poor oral hygiene can make staining more likely during orthodontic treatment. Discoloration can be avoided by regular brushing and flossing. Sticking to a good oral hygiene routine is the best way to reduce your risk of stains before they happen. Some tips to remember:

  • Choose a soft-bristled or electric toothbrush
  • Apply gentle pressure to avoid damaging your braces
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months, or if you see that your braces are causing it to wear out sooner
  • Brush for at least 2 minutes to make sure you properly remove any food particles
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste
  • Rinse your mouth with water after eating when it’s not possible to brush
  • Use wax-covered floss, a floss threader, or WaterPik

What is the Best Way to Whiten with Braces?

If regular brushing and flossing do not seem to be doing the trick or giving you the results that you want, you can definitely try a whitening toothpaste. Be sure to use gentle toothpaste that is available at the store. To be safe, stay away from specialty whitening products that may contain bleaches or other chemical agents. If you have any questions about whether a product is safe or smart for us, just ask us!
If you follow all of the advice above and are still self-conscious about the color of your teeth, talk to us about it. Our entire team is here to support you and we can figure this out together!