Life with braces

Brushing and flossing with braces

Getting the hang of brushing with braces may take a bit of practice, as navigating around brackets and wires can be a new experience. Brush thoroughly after each meal or snack to eliminate any food particles before harmful bacteria have a chance to grow. If can’t brush right away, rinsing your mouth with water will help until you can get to a toothbrush.

Follow these tips for the best results:

  • Use a fluoride toothpaste with a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush or a bi-level brush (with shorter bristles in the middle and longer bristles on the edges). You can also use an electric toothbrush but should be careful not to brush too hard and keep it on a reasonable power level. Braces can wear down toothbrushes quickly, so replace yours as soon as it shows signs of wear.
  • Brush around every part of your braces on every surface of your teeth. Aim for clean, shiny braces, with the edge of the brackets visible. Fuzzy or dull-looking metal indicates poor brushing.
  • Floss every night before you go to bed. Tools such as floss threaders and water flossers are helpful if you’re having difficulty flossing underneath the wires.


Why oral care is important

Good oral hygiene is critical during orthodontic treatment. Without it, plaque and food can accumulate around your braces. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that collects on your teeth made of bacteria, food, and saliva. Allowing plaque and trapped food to linger around your braces can lead to various issues, including swollen gums, halitosis, cavities, and permanent marks on your teeth. Early gum disease is caused by plaque build-up but is reversible with professional help and good home care, but if you ignore it, it can get worse. Gum disease is usually painless, so you need to pay attention to signs like bleeding, or swollen and puffy gums.

Carefully follow the directions on hygiene given to you by Dr. Jeff and our team to avoid these problems.

The role of your dentist in your orthodontic journey

While you’re visiting your orthodontist for regular check-ups and treatments, it’s important to remember that maintaining your routine visits to your regular dentist is equally essential. While our focus remains on enhancing your bite and alignment, your dentist plays a key role in ensuring the ongoing health of your teeth through comprehensive examinations, cleanings, and preventive care. Your orthodontic treatment is a collaborative effort, where everyone involved—our office, you, and your family dentist—has an essential role to play. Together, we share a common goal: ensuring a healthy smile for a lifetime.