Brushing and Flossing

Why You Should Brush and Floss

You have heard ever since your first visit to the dentist that brushing and flossing require consistent attention and practice to maintain healthy teeth. But, what happens when you have metal braces placed in your mouth? Still, you need to brush and floss.


Caring For Your Teeth

With braces, it's super important to brush and floss after every meal this keeps your teeth and gums healthy throughout treatment.

If you have had braces, though, you know that it can be tough to brush and floss as much (and as well) as you would like. You may even wonder, "Why does this matter? Won't my orthodontist clean my teeth at my next appointment?"

While your orthodontist is here to make your smile look its best, we need the entire team. We rely on you to do your part, just as you rely on us to do ours. With all of us working to make your smile great, we are unstoppable!

Below are a few things you need to know to keep your smile happy and healthy while you have braces.


All About Timing

The questions we receive most are about what time and how often to brush and floss. As orthodontists, we think the answer should be "whenever you can!" – but since you have plenty of other things going on, we can offer a few tips instead.

Ideally, you should brush after each meal or snack. Especially while you have braces, it is even more important to keep a toothbrush handy. If you aren't able to brush after each meal or snack during the day, at least rinse your mouth with water to prevent food from hanging around in your brackets.

Once you have brushed your teeth thoroughly, it's time to floss! We recommend flossing well once per day. When you are finished, you will feel great and your teeth will thank you!

Girl with clear braces holding a toothbrush

Plaque's Sneak Attack

When your brushing and flossing fall to the wayside, your teeth are open to an unwelcome visitor: plaque.

Plaque is not easily noticeable at first glance, but it wreaks havoc on your smile! Plaque is made up of bacteria, saliva, and food. As it builds up, your teeth begin to wear down with cavities, bad breath, infected gums, and more.

By brushing and flossing around your braces regularly, you keep this bacteria and food from forming into plaque and damaging your smile. You have worked too hard to get your perfect smile from your orthodontist – don't let plaque get in the way!


Brushing With Braces

When you first get braces, it can be difficult to navigate your toothbrush around all this new hardware. Follow these steps after each meal and snack to keep your teeth strong and bright:

Step 1

Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums.

Step 2

Brush gently in a circular motion around your teeth, brushing the outer, inner and chewing surface of each tooth.

Step 3

Use the tip of the brush to get a little closer around your brackets and under the wires.

Step 4

Rinse and check for any areas that need additional brushing.

Step 5

Always examine after brushing for any problems with your braces. If a bracket seems to be loose or a wire is poking you, give us a call so we can help!

Flossing With Braces

Many times, our patients do not know where to begin when it comes to flossing around braces. If we say so ourselves, flossing with braces is even more fun than flossing without them. Floss once a day, and keep the plaque away!

Step 1

Using a piece of floss around 18 inches long, thread the end through the wire of your braces. If you need extra help, try using a floss threader.

Step 2

Carefully work the floss between your teeth using a back and forth motion.

Step 3

Carefully floss around the gum areas.

Step 4

Remove floss from between teeth with the same back and forth motion and repeat for each position between teeth, on top and bottom.