Flossing, Brushing, and Beyond: How to Care for Teeth with Braces

Somewhere between the braces, wires, and rubber bands in your mouth lie your teeth, but how do you get to them? Often, braces prove to be quite the obstacle when you want to brush, floss, or otherwise care for the beautiful, straight smile-in-progress. But this beautiful smile won’t be possible without proper care.

Lucky for most individuals with braces, caring for your teeth doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, with just a few simple tips in hand, you can ensure that your smile looks just as you imagined when your braces come off.

General Orthodontic Hygiene Standards

You’ve been going to the dentist for years and know that you should floss every day, but do you actually take the advice? Many don’t. But with braces, following professional advice is a must.

Your orthodontist will tell you to brush after every meal or snack and you should. For some, it’s also important to rinse with a fluoride mouthwash to remove food from tiny crevices that your toothbrush simply can’t reach no matter how hard you try.

You’ll also want to invest in an oral irrigator or another type of flossing device to flush out food that is too difficult to reach with regular floss. Doing so will keep your teeth clean and healthy under your braces.

Understanding How to Properly Brush and Floss with Braces

Both brushing and flossing are dramatically different with braces. Here are a few ways to keep your smile in top condition:

  • Repeat, Repeat, Repeat – Consistency is key for proper orthodontic care. It can be a nuisance to brush and floss after each meal, but you’ll be glad you did when your braces come off and you don’t have stains or other problems.
  • Floss With Accuracy and Caution – With too much force, flossing can cause issues with your wires. Instead, take care to thread the floss between all teeth and work it back and forth with a gentle sawing motion. By doing so, you can free up food that gets stuck before turning to alternative methods, like an oral irrigator.
  • Go Beyond Normal Brushing – When you first get braces, you’ll be given small brushes that resemble trees. Use these to brush under the wire and between each set of braces daily. Make sure to use enough strokes on each tooth to remove lingering food and prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria.

Orthodontic Mishaps

Orthodontic mishaps can happen no matter how many precautionary steps you take. These are some of the most common:

  • Loose Brackets
  • Broken Wings
  • Loose Spacers or Bands

You can use orthodontic wax to hold loose brackets in place and to prevent loose brackets or broken wires from cutting your mouth until you can see your orthodontist. For spacer or band issues, it is best to make an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as possible.

Caring for Your Braces is About More Than Just Oral Health

Remember, your braces are working to improve your smile every day. As such, you need to put in the work to properly care for your teeth so that, once your braces are off, you have the beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of.


Caring for Teeth with Braces and Retainers. (2015, January 31). Retrieved June 2, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/care-of-braces-retainers?page=2

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