Braces are an effective orthodontic treatment for straightening misaligned teeth. Failing to properly clean teeth while wearing braces can cause brownish or yellow discoloration post-treatment. These stains can be caused by the braces wire and brackets that make it difficult to clean hard to reach areas when brushing and flossing.

It’s important to note that brace stains are not caused by the braces themselves, but rather by insufficient oral care. This article will discuss the causes, treatments and ways to prevent tooth discoloration caused by wearing braces.

What are Braces Stains?

Braces Stains

Braces Stains

Plaque is a sticky film that contains bacteria and can lead to various dental problems, including tooth discolouration in the form of white, brown or yellowish spots, or worse, tooth decay. In orthodontic treatment, stained teeth typically happen when there is plaque buildup and tartar near the metal braces’ brackets and wires. As a result, the tooth surface can stain and develop white, brown or yellow spots.

Although sometimes not apparent to the naked eye, stains can often be detected via a dental x-ray or by thoroughly inspecting the teeth using a dental light. If left untreated, braces stain can cause permanent discoloration of the teeth.

Causes of Stains from Braces

Certain factors can cause stains while wearing braces:

Food and Drinks

Plaque can buildup on teeth as a result of eating and drinking. Certain acidic foods, such as pickles, lemons and oranges, can leave a residue on the metal of your braces. Sugary drinks can also cause staining by leaving behind sugar crystals that stick to the metal.

Poor Oral Hygiene

If you don’t practice good oral hygiene, food debris and bacteria will become trapped in the brackets and wires of your braces. This can lead to staining as bacteria produces acid that erodes metal over time.


Smoking can not only cause teeth stains, but may also leaves a yellow residue on the metal parts of your braces. Also, smoking introduces toxins into your mouth that isn’t good for you or your braces.

Poor Brushing and Flossing Habits

Plaque contains bacteria that can corrode the metal of your braces and cause staining. If you don’t brush your teeth properly, plaque can build up around the brackets. A poor regular teeth cleaning regimen can also contribute to plaque build-up and staining. So, it’s important to brush and floss your teeth regularly.

“Decalcification” is white “staining” which is caused by insufficient brushing and plaque demineralising enamel in a square pattern around the edge of the braces bracket, which is also permanent and irreversible. It isn’t that common for Smile Team clients as our orthodontist’s will mentor you at your adjustment appointments in regards to proper dental hygiene and will notice any areas of your teeth you may be missing while brushing to avoid this decalcification from happening.

Improper removal of braces

If braces are removed prematurely without an orthodontist, any remaining corroded and discolored pieces may be left behind. By following proper removal procedures, your orthodontist can eliminate any stains. It is therefore essential to follow the directions of your orthodontist when taking off your braces.

Inadequate Orthodontic Treatment Planning

It is imperative to choose a qualified and experienced orthodontist to outline a treatment plan for you. Poor planning can lead to brackets not being positioned correctly which may affect brushing or flossing, resulting in a buildup of plaque. Additionally, if the patient is not provided with adequate instruction on how to care for their teeth during treatment, they may not be able to effectively prevent staining.

How to prevent Braces Stains?

Here are some good oral health care tips to avoid stained teeth when you wear braces

Brushing and flossing regularly

Brushing and flossing will help remove stuck food particles and avoid plaque build-up between teeth and braces. A good teeth cleaning routine will reduce staining caused by bacterial buildup around the braces.

Using mouthwash

It is advisable to use mouthwash after brushing and flossing to help keep your teeth clean. It can reduce plaque, bacteria and staining around the brackets and wires of your braces.

Avoiding certain foods and drinks

It’s important to avoid certain foods and drinks that can cause staining on braces or teeth, such as red wine, coffee, tea, berries and other dark-colored foods. Remember to rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking sugary foods or items to help reduce staining.

Regular dental checkups

It is important to keep regular checkups with your orthodontist to ensure you are not experiencing any damage or wear on your braces and brackets. Your orthodontist will help reduce discoloration on your teeth and can also clean stained braces.

Managing Stained Teeth after Braces

It is not uncommon to notice stains on your teeth after having your braces removed, but the good news is that their appearance can be improved. An orthodontist can assess your situation and suggest a suitable treatment regimen to address any staining.

Professional cleaning

Professional dental cleaning can help remove stubborn stains that are hard to remove at home. Your orthodontist may use an ultrasonic scaler, sandblaster or laser equipment to remove the plaque and tartar buildup. They may also polish your teeth to make them look brighter and shinier.

Teeth whitening

For deep stain removal, teeth whitening can be done in-chair with an orthodontist and is most effective after braces removal. The treatment involves using a special light or laser to activate bleaching solution. During braces treatment, whitening toothpaste recommended by your orthodontist can be used with a manual or electric toothbrush to avoid tooth staining.

Dental products

Your dentist or orthodontist may be able to recommend dental products that can help reduce stains and discoloration. These might include special fluoride toothpaste, mouthwash, or a whitening pen. It is important to remember that using these products should be with the guidance of your dentist or orthodontist.

Stained Braces FAQs

Can at-home teeth whitening damage braces?

If you wear metal or ceramic braces, teeth whitening products like whitening strips, pens and DIY concoctions like lemon juice and baking soda rinses, can damage your braces or tooth enamel. It’s always best to ask your dentist or orthodontist for best whitening procedures.

Is it common to have stains after braces?

It is common to have braces stains after wearing braces, but it is possible to avoid braces stains and improve the appearance and health of your teeth. With the right treatment, you may be able to get rid of teeth staining caused by braces.

Do orthodontists whiten teeth after braces?

Orthodontists specialise in the treatment of irregularities in the teeth and jaw, thus the implementation of orthodontic treatment like braces. Although we don’t offer teeth whitening at Smile Team, our orthodontist do a thorough clean during and after treatment to remove stains on teeth.

Why do teeth turn yellow after braces?

Plaque accumulation adheres to teeth that turn into calculus or tartar, having yellowish or brownish colour. The affected tooth may cause demineralisation, which eats away tooth enamel leaving white spots on teeth. If left untreated, it can cause a cavity.


While braces do the job of straightening teeth, improper dental health care can leave discoloration or stain particles when removed. There are ways to manage braces discoloration, or avoid it all together in the first place. With the right daily oral hygiene routine and guidance from your orthodontist, you can reduce the risk of stained teeth.