Keeping Your Teeth Clean with Braces

While undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces, it’s critical that you commit to your oral hygiene. Maintaining a healthy, bacteria-free smile is essential for preventing diseases and maximizing your end results from treatment. 

As you transition into your new life with braces, you’ll have to make some minor adjustments to how you clean your teeth. Our orthodontists (Dr. Nease, Dr. Higginbotham, Dr. Thomas and Dr. Horvath) are here to help guide you through the process to ensure a smooth treatment with minimal complications!

How often do I brush and floss my teeth with braces?

You should brush and floss as often as possible – but at a minimum we recommend you brush before leaving the house, just before heading to bed and ideally after you eat. This helps to prevent food particles from building up between your brackets, wires, and teeth. 

Floss at least once a day to get to the hard-to-reach spaces between individual teeth and the spaces between your wires and teeth.

How do I brush and floss my teeth properly?

To brush your teeth while wearing braces, hold your toothbrush at an angle allowing you to brush all sides of the bracket (above, below and the sides). Begin brushing the outside of your teeth and move the brush in fast, circular motions. This motion creates a mild vibration that loosens particles and debris. 

Brush the inner and outer surfaces of your teeth, the chewing surfaces, and your gum line. Use a thorough but gentle brushing motion to clean your teeth effectively, without damaging your brackets or wires.  

To floss your teeth with braces, we recommend using a specialized flossing threader or floss pick, designed to reach under your archwires. First, pull your floss through the threader, then thread it under your archwire. Once the floss is under your wires, you can floss as you normally would without braces.

Should I use mouthwash with braces?

Yes! We recommend always following up your brushing and flossing routines with a thorough mouthwash rinse. You can rinse your mouth with lukewarm water, but ideally, we advise you to use a quality antiseptic dental rinse. 

If you have any questions about the best type of mouthwash to use during your orthodontic treatment, we encourage you to ask us! You can give us a call, or ask us at your next appointment. 

Occasionally, orthodontic appliances can irritate your gums and cause minor inflammation. Rinsing with an antiseptic dental rinse can help to soothe these irritations. This also helps to remove any debris floating around your mouth after you brush or floss your teeth. And dont forget to brush your tongue too!!

Should I use an interdental toothbrush?

Yes! This is a great way to keep your smile in its best shape throughout your treatment. An interdental toothbrush, also called a proxabrush, can effectively clean under and around your archwires. It has a singular bristle that can be inserted between each tooth to remove any leftover particles. 

Use the proxabrush in a slow and methodical fashion to prevent damaging your braces or appliances!

How do I clean my retainer?

Once you progress to the retention phase of your orthodontic treatment, it’s critical that you take proper care of your retainer! When you first receive your retainer, you’ll be wearing it for 24 hours a day. Every time you brush your teeth, it’s recommended that you brush your retainer too. This will help to eliminate built-up food particles and debris. When you brush your retainer, we recommend that you do not use toothpaste on your toothbrush but just clean water.  This is because toothpaste can be a little too abrasive and make your retainer look cloudy and dull. 

To soak your retainer each day, use a denture cleansing tablet. Drop a tablet in lukewarm water and soak your retainer for as long as instructed. (Avoid hot water that can damage or warp your retainer material.)

Have questions about oral hygiene with braces?

Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at any of our locations in West Spartanburg, East Spartanburg, Gaffney, Duncan, or Union. We believe patient education is the foundation to a successful treatment! We will always take the time to explain your treatment to you, throughout every phase. 

If you haven’t received your complimentary exam yet, we encourage you to request yours today! Your first visit to our office is no-obligation, no-risk, and no-commitment. We want you to experience the Nth Degree in orthodontic care, without any financial risk.