Seven Tips for Brushing With Braces

Trenton Elkins May 31, 2022

When your braces treatment begins, you will have to make changes to your oral hygiene routine. The process of brushing and flossing does not change much when you have braces. However, you will need a little more effort than usual to get a nice, thorough clean. Making sure to properly brush around the brackets and wire to get any debris and bacteria while not causing any damage can be a tricky procedure. Don’t worry. Our expert orthodontic team at Clauss Orthodontics has seven tips for brushing your teeth with braces to help keep things easy.

#1 Rinse thoroughly

Begin by gargling warm water and spitting it into the sink before brushing to remove any loose food particles that may have gathered underneath and around the brackets. You may need to do this a couple of times to get most of the debris out. Rinse as many times as necessary until the water you spit is clear. After there are no longer pieces of debris, you can start brushing your teeth. It helps to choose an anti-cavity fluoride mouthwash to help reduce tooth decay and protect enamel.

#2 Choose the right toothpaste

Patients who are old enough to get braces are usually no longer using the bubblegum-flavored toothpaste used by children. If your child is still using this kind of toothpaste when their treatment starts, it may be time to choose an option better suited to their oral health needs. The American Dental Association and the doctors at Clauss Orthodontics recommend toothpaste with fluoride and stronger compounds better able to combat and neutralize bacteria. 

#3 Brushing the brackets

Brushing around brackets and wires can be tricky if you don’t prepare in advance. Most of the time, the process is similar to brushing your teeth without braces, back and forth. With brackets on, you will need to adjust your brush placement to get a good angle for effective cleaning. Start by holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush along the gum line. 

Next, shift the angle of the toothbrush so that you can carefully brush the tops of your brackets. Then, reposition the toothbrush to angle up so that you can brush under the brackets and wire. Brushing down from the top of the bracket, up from the bottom, and in a circular angle around them will really help in getting those hard-to-reach places. Just be sure not to apply too much pressure that you damage the wires or brackets themselves. If you are using an electric toothbrush, dial back the intensity or even opt for a standard brush as you get to the pressure needed to properly clean your teeth with braces. 

Seven Tips for Brushing With Braces

#4 Don’t forget your gums

Your gums are an easy spot to forget when you’re brushing your teeth since they are less visible. Once your braces are on, you might experience some gum sensitivity or inflammation. This is typically brief and will quickly fade away. Make sure you are brushing not just the brackets and wires on the front faces of your teeth but that you are going all the way to your gums to get the plaque and debris that builds up there, as well. 

#5 Make sure to floss twice a day

Flossing has a variety of oral health benefits. Despite this, it’s one of the most overlooked steps of the oral health routine. Especially for those who have the hardware of braces, which can make the challenge more difficult. It’s important that you don’t skip this step because debris, plaque, and bacteria can become lodged between teeth and brackets. 

There are disposable flossing sticks that you can use in a pinch to get to hard-to-reach places where debris can be lodged. Dr. Clauss will give you a tool, called an interdental proxy brush, to help make this process easier. Floss the gum line with the floss in the shape of a “C” and below the gum line with a soft up and down motion. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when flossing around the archwire.

#6 Take your time

It takes time and effort to adjust to wearing braces. It can be tricky enough to hit the two-minute mark without braces and the added challenge of brackets and wires being in the way can make you want to rush and skip important steps. It’s more important than ever to take your time when brushing during braces treatment to ensure the best results by the end of your treatment. Most electric toothbrushes come with a built-in timer that can keep you accountable while giving you an extra hand at the actual cleaning.

#7 Rinse again

After you’ve finished brushing and flossing your teeth, rinse your mouth out again with warm water to wash out any of the excess loose particles knocked free during the process. This gives your mouth an extra cleansing boost and makes sure that no leftover debris gets lodged back in your braces. Of course, it helps to use that anticavity fluoride mouthwash!

Seven Tips for Brushing With Braces

Stay informed with Clauss Orthodontics

The adjustments that come with orthodontic treatment can be tricky. When keeping things clean gets difficult, we’re here to put you back on the right path. Whether you’re looking for braces, aligners, or just want to know more, we’ve got you covered.

If you or someone you love is considering braces, we want to provide the proper information and treatment to help you along. Our experienced team at Clauss Orthodontics in Watertown and Middlebury knows that an informed patient is more likely to participate in their treatment. If you have any more questions or wonder if you may be a good fit for Invisalign treatment, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Clauss and start your smile journey!