How to Brush Your Teeth and Floss With Braces

How to Brush Your Teeth and Floss With Braces article banner

If you or someone in your family wears braces, take heart. Before you know it, you’ll be flashing a confident smile if you keep these few things in mind.

Dealing with Plaque Around Your Braces

Once teeth are straightened by braces, it is easier to reach plaque on and between your teeth. But while wearing braces, plaque and food particles have additional places to accumulate and become trapped. Use an Oral-B® Electric Toothbrush with an Ortho® brush head that’s specially designed to effectively and gently clean around braces.

Be prepared to spend three times as long on your oral care while you have braces on your teeth. Don't worry, it's worth the time. If you don't pay attention to oral hygiene while your teeth are being realigned, you increase your risk of gum disease. Plus, it can help your teeth look that much better when it's finally time to get your braces removed.

Take Care of Your Gums After Braces with Electric Toothbrushes

While wearing braces, you might consider using the sensitive mode of your Oral-B Electric Toothbrush. The sensitive mode oscillates at a lower speed for extra care and comfort along the gum line—and around the brackets and orthodontic wires.

Brushing with Braces

Using an Oral-B Electric Toothbrush makes this routine easy.

  • Get started: Remove elastics, bands, or removable parts of orthodontic appliances.

  • Clean your braces: Carefully clean around wires and pins.

  • Brush each wire: Move top to bottom, and all the way around upper and lower teeth.

  • Brush your teeth: Dental professionals recommend brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice daily. That means each quadrant of your mouth gets 30 seconds. Oral-B Electric Toothbrushes have a built-in timer that pulses every 30 seconds to let you know when to switch areas of the mouth. As you’re brushing, make sure to clean all areas of the tooth. Some people find they get the best clean going tooth by tooth.

  • Rinse, and then check your teeth: Rinse thoroughly. Examine teeth and braces in the mirror, and remember to look for any remaining food particles.

Flossing With Braces

Although flossing with braces is tricky, you can get the hang of it with practice if you follow these steps:

  • Floss once a day: Use waxed floss (unwaxed floss is more likely to get caught and shred in your braces), dental tape or a product specifically designed to clean around your braces. Use waxed floss and thread it carefully under the main wire before passing between two teeth. Don’t snap it—simply move up and down gently, remove, and move on to the next pair of teeth. Use Oral-B Superfloss®, which is self-threading or regular floss with a floss threader to place above and below the orthodontic wire.

  • Use enough: About 18 inches of floss should suffice

  • Thread it carefully: Take the floss and carefully thread it under the main wire of the braces before passing it between two teeth. Then remove the floss and re-thread it under the main wire to pass between the next pair of teeth

  • Be sure not to snap the floss - simply move it up and down gently against the side of each tooth

Parents: Do the flossing for younger children who lack the coordination to thread the floss under the main wire of their braces.

Plan Regular Checkups

Seeing your orthodontist for checkups and adjustments is essential. He or she can repair broken pieces, answer general questions, and address any irregularities such as cavities or gingivitis. Your dental professional may recommend a fluoride treatment as a precaution.

While you're undergoing orthodontic treatment, you should see the orthodontist approximately once a month. He or she will check the condition of your braces and other appliances to make sure that they are putting steady pressure on the teeth in order to achieve the effect that you want.

Regular visits are also important to identify potential problems. If you are having difficulty maintaining clean teeth, your dentist/orthodontist may show you the proper technique for brushing and flossing your teeth with braces. Many dentists/orthodontists recommend cleaning your teeth after every meal or snack if you wear braces. And some dentists recommend a fluoride mouthwash to help control plaque buildup in the places that are tough to reach with a toothbrush.