How To Take Care Of Braces | Water Flosser, Brushing, & More

How To Take Care Of Braces | Water Flosser, Brushing, & More

 Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH
How To Take Care Of Braces | Water Flosser, Brushing, & More

How you clean around your braces is super important, not just during treatment, but because of the way your smile will look once your braces come off. With the right technique, you can keep your smile healthy the whole time in braces so that you don’t need extra dental treatment once your teeth are straight.

Braces Home Care Essentials

Since braces have so many little extra pieces of things bonded to each of your teeth, they need daily attention. It’s going to be your everyday home care/hygiene routine that keeps plaque buildup at bay. Otherwise, all of that sticky plaque will start to cause cavities and demineralized enamel around your brackets.

1) Using Your Toothbrush

Choose a soft-bristled or electric toothbrush and use it twice a day (it doesn’t work if it’s just sitting there!) Set a timer for at least two minutes.

Ideally, you want to be brushing your teeth every time you eat or have a snack. But if you can’t, make sure you’re at least brushing around your braces twice per day (morning and nighttime.)

The MOST IMPORTANT rule about brushing around and how to clean braces is to focus on the gums. That means above your braces on the top teeth, and below your braces on your bottom teeth.

Related: Should you Brush Before or After Breakfast

2) Toothpaste Selection

When you have braces, be sure to pick a toothpaste that has fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that, just like calcium, is important for having strong teeth.

Although you ultimately want your smile to be perfectly white and straight, it’s important not to use any whitening toothpaste just yet. If you do, it might make your enamel look unevenly colored once your brackets come off.

3) Flossing (Or Water Flossing)

With braces, there are so many different areas to clean. But one of the most important ones is the “contact point” where your teeth touch side by side.

The only way to clean these areas thoroughly is to get floss (or a super-duper-powered stream of water) between them at least once a day. Before bed is best.

To get floss under your orthodontic wires, you’ll want to tie it onto a floss threader and weave it underneath, then floss around each tooth as normal. Or if you’ve invested in a water flosser, you can use that instead!

On The Go Care

Of course, very few of us spend 24/7 at home. In today’s on-the-go world, you need a travel hygiene kit to take to school or work, to make sure you can clean your teeth after lunch and before you get home.

I recommend having a small bag with a travel toothbrush, tube of toothpaste, and braces flossers on hand. Just zip over to the restroom to brush after you eat, taking care to check in the mirror for any food that’s left around your braces.

Even if you’re in a rush, this mid-day on-the-go braces care kit will help keep your breath fresh and gums healthy.  Plus, it’s inexpensive! 

Interdental Brushes

Last but certainly not least, be sure to use an interdental brush (aka proxy-brush, Christmas-tree brush, or go-between) to clean your teeth under your wires and right up next to your brackets.

When it comes to how to clean with braces, these are essential. These slender little brushes reach areas that a larger brush head can’t, and they’re small enough to take with you.

You can even bend the brush to help reach up and between the brackets of your very back teeth! 

Visit Your Dentist

Can you get your teeth cleaned with braces? Yes!

With braces, it’s more important than ever to schedule regular checkups and cleanings. Your dental team will screen for issues like tooth demineralization so that you can address (and reverse it) before it turns into a cavity.

Before braces, you probably saw your dentist about every six months. You’ll want to keep up with the same routine, or even see your dentist more frequently, especially if you’re having trouble cleaning certain areas. The last thing you want is for plaque to turn into tartar, and tartar into gum disease!

Brace Care Recap

To make sure you have the gorgeous teeth you’re hoping for once your braces come off, it’s super important to take good care of your oral hygiene during the process.

  • brush twice a day
  • keep a travel kit with you wherever you go
  • floss daily
  • focus on your gums
  • clean between teeth
  • schedule regular checkups

Not sure how to use a water flosser around your braces? Be sure to check out the how to use a water flosser video

 Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH
Written by Whitney DiFoggio MA, RDH"Teeth Talk Girl," is a registered dental hygienist. She started her dental health journey on YouTube, educating the public through videos.
Last updated onJune 24, 2023Here is our process

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