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Have you ever noticed a yellowish discoloration surrounding your braces? If so, you’re not alone. Many patients experience this phenomenon, but rest assured, there’s no need to fret. In this article, we’ll explore the causes behind the yellowing of the glue around your braces and what you can do to prevent it.
First, it’s important to understand that the glue used to attach your braces‘ brackets to your teeth is actually a composite resin that’s commonly used in dentistry. This adhesive is designed to be durable and long-lasting, yet gentle enough on your enamel. Over time and with exposure to certain foods, drinks, and oral hygiene habits, dental cement may begin to take on a yellow hue.
The good news is that you can keep the glue around your braces looking clean and healthy by practicing good oral hygiene. Maintaining a routine of brushing and flossing, as well as using mouthwash, can help reduce the chances of your dental cement turning yellow. So, continue reading for more in-depth information, as well as tips to keep your smile looking its best!
Braces Glue Turning Yellow? Here’s Why It May Stain
First things first, let’s address the main reasons why your brackets may have what looks like a yellow halo around them. It might be the glue, what you eat, how you brush, or all these reasons combined.
But don’t worry, much of the staining on your teeth is fixable and happens gradually, so you can take measures to prevent this.
Excess glue around the brackets
If you’re noticing the glue around your braces turning a shade of yellow, you should know that the braces glue shouldn’t be visible at all.
When orthodontists bond brackets, they press them onto the teeth, and any excess glue comes out around the bracket edges. This excess glue is called flash. Before hardening the cement, your orthodontist will (hopefully) remove the flash, so there’s no more visible glue.
This is often easier said than done, and certain areas may still have a thin layer of glue on top of the enamel surrounding the brackets. This is the glue that ends up yellow. Alternatively, your orthodontist could use flash-free adhesive-coated brackets, but this product is not very common in regular practices.
Other causes of yellowing include excess bonding liquid, which also hardens as a yellow film on your teeth.
Excess glue is harder to remove once the brackets are on your teeth, so if you’re sure the glue is to blame, then I’m afraid you don’t have other options.
However, most of the time, it’s the brackets holding on to bacterial plaque, and not the glue itself, that causes the yellowing. This second scenario is more fortunate since plaque can be easy to clean.
Yellow stains around braces
So let’s look at some of the factors that may cause yellowing, stains, and plaque accumulation on your teeth:
One of the main reasons for yellowing glue is consuming foods and drinks that cause stains. Some common culprits include:
- Red wine
- Tomato-based sauces
Additionally, smoking is a significant factor that often leads to staining on teeth and braces. Tar and nicotine in cigarettes can cause the glue around your brackets to turn an unsightly yellow. Out of all the patients I’ve treated, smokers have, by far, the most stained braces and yellowing around their brackets.
Another possible reason is using chlorhexidine mouthwashes. While these mouthwashes are effective at preventing gum inflammation and infections, they may cause temporary staining on the glue.
To prevent the glue around your braces from turning yellow, consider these suggestions:
By being aware of these factors and taking preventive measures, you can maintain the appearance of your braces and work towards a beautiful, stain-free smile.
Can You Remove The Yellow Stains Around Your Braces?
As I mentioned in the previous section, there’s a difference between stained glue and plaque accumulation that looks like yellow braces glue. Braces glue is a composite resin adhesive that’s very similar to dental fillings.
If you’ve ever had a tooth filling, especially in the front teeth, you’re probably aware that they change in color over time. This is unavoidable, because resin is porous and similar to plastic, so it’s easy to get stained with pigmented foods.
Plaque, on the other hand, starts out as a whiteish buildup, but it can get yellow over time.
Both stained glue and plaque accumulation will happen gradually, so it’s best to keep an eye on these things. Whatever the culprit, an appointment with the dental hygienist and stepping up your oral hygiene habits at home will only benefit you in the long run.
Airflow Stain Removal in the office
One effective method to treat the yellowing around your braces is to visit a dental hygienist for an airflow stain removal procedure.
This professional treatment uses a combination of water, air, and fine powder to thoroughly clean your teeth and braces, helping to remove some of the yellow stains caused by plaque accumulation.
Feel free to visit your hygienist more frequently while wearing braces, even as often as once every 2 to 3 months if necessary. Airflow procedures won’t harm your enamel the way ultrasonic scalers do if applied too much on your teeth.
Water Flosser at home
At home, you can also use a water flosser to maintain oral hygiene and minimize the development of yellow stains around your braces. A water flosser helps to dislodge food particles and plaque from hard-to-reach areas around your braces, which can prevent staining.
Water flossers are particularly useful all around your brackets, not just between your teeth, and they’re an excellent addition to maintaining your gum health as well. I recommend purchasing this countertop model if you have the space.
When using a water flosser, make sure to:
- Select a suitable pressure setting for your comfort level
- Focus on each tooth for a few seconds, paying close attention to the areas around your braces
- Use your water flosser horizontally in between teeth to eliminate hidden plaque
In addition to your water flosser, consider using interdental brushes (both straight and angled, and various sizes) to clean in between your teeth and braces. You can also use an antibacterial mouthwash that contains fluoride, which helps combat plaque buildup and reduces the risk of staining.
What if the staining won’t go away?
You should know that if the yellowing is due to pigmented food staining, it might be challenging to get it out. The only way to remove it is to polish the top layer of the glue, which is impossible to do with the braces on.
However, be assured that once your orthodontist takes your braces off and removes the glue, the yellowing will disappear as well.
This may be disappointing to hear if you’ve been enjoying your curries and other staining foods oblivious of this effect, but if your teeth are clean, I suggest you use some lively colored elastic ties to mask the discoloration and make your braces look fun and clean.
In the end, the most important thing is that your teeth are as clean as they can be and that your braces function properly.
I know having stains around your braces can be a little frustrating and it can cause you to hide your teeth when you smile. Hopefully, the tricks you’ve learned in this article will help reduce some of the yellowness and give you the best braces experience.
Whether you’re new to braces or a braces veteran, taking care of your teeth (and your health) during orthodontic treatment is crucial. That’s why I’ve put together a list of orthodontist-recommended tools that will make caring for your braces a breeze: