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How To Brush Your Teeth With Braces

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Even for those without braces, brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes is essential for good oral health. Proper, consistent brushing and flossing habits become even more crucial when it comes to caring for braces.

If you have braces you should attempt to brush your teeth more frequently, ideally after each meal and snack.

To protect your investment, follow these simple steps:

  • Choose a toothbrush with a head that is small enough to access your entire mouth, including the back of your teeth and around brackets
  • If using a manual or sonic style toothbrush, hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line
  • Apply gentle pressure to avoid brushing too hard
  • Brush each quadrant of your mouth equally
    • Focus on brushing along the gumline, then below and above each bracket
    • It may help to angle your toothbrush downward to brush above the brackets, and upward to brush below the brackets
  • Be sure to also brush the inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, not just the outside surfaces with brackets
  • Always brush your tongue to maintain fresh breath

Additional Home Care for Braces

In addition to brushing your teeth, make sure to floss your teeth at least once a day. 

If you have braces and use a manual toothbrush, consider upgrading to an electric toothbrush.


Taking the time and effort to keep your braces and teeth clean is important. Doing so will help you avoid problems, such as tooth decay, inflamed gums, and tooth decalcification.

If you don’t practice proper brushing, you risk having discolored teeth, cavities, or swollen and infected gum tissue. We know you don’t want this.

So here’s something you need to know: It’s up to you to keep your mouth healthy. Only you can make a commitment to care for your teeth daily.

And for children with braces, parents should teach their kids the importance of caring for their teeth and encourage them to keep their mouths clean every day.


Food particles and plaque (a sticky, colorless film of bacteria) can stick to your braces and teeth, especially when you have braces. If you don’t brush your teeth or practice proper technique, gingivitis can form in as little as 48 hours. That’s why daily brushing is critical for maintaining dental health.

The American Dental Association advises brushing after every meal (including snacks), and we agree. We also suggest you brush your teeth before you go to sleep as well.

Here’s how to practice proper tooth brushing with braces:

  • Rinse your mouth out with water first to get some of the loose food particles out of your mouth.
  • Rinse your toothbrush with hot water to clear any food particles.
  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
  • Gently move the brush back and forth in short strokes. Be sure to brush between the wiring and the teeth. You also want to brush the outer surfaces, inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces.
  • Brush your teeth thoroughly for at least two to three minutes.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.

And if for some reason you can’t brush your teeth after you eat, you should drink lots of water and swish your mouth out with water. Taking this action will wash away some of the food and sugar and prevent potential damage to your teeth.

Have any questions about brushing your teeth with braces? Our professional and friendly orthodontic staff would love to help you. Contact us and let us know what dental questions you want to answer.


Flossing is also a critical step for keeping your teeth healthy and ensuring you get the results you want.

Flossing with braces is mostly the same as normal flossing. There is one difference, though: You must thread the floss under the archwire and between the teeth. A floss threader (which looks like a large plastic needle) can make this step easier.

Here’s how the process works:

  • Thread the floss under the archwire.
  • Remove the threader.
  • Floss each side of each tooth in the space.
  • Pull the floss out of the space with one hand as you release the floss with your other hand.
  • Repeat this method between all of your teeth.

It’s a good idea to floss at the end of the day; this way you won’t miss any food particles trapped in your teeth.


While you are wearing braces, you shouldn’t use whitening products — this means no whitening toothpaste or whitening mouthwash.

The reason for this is because the whitening product will only work on the place it touches, meaning you’ll have uneven color when your braces get removed.


When you have braces, you want to choose a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent gum damage and wear on your teeth.

Brushing with Braces Tip #5: Use a mouth rinse to keep your mouth healthy with braces.

Here’s how it works: Rinse your mouth with two teaspoons (half a capful) of Peroxyl for one minute and then spit it out. You can use this mouth rinse up to four times daily following your schedule for brushing: after meals and before bed.


Fluoride strengthens the enamel of teeth. It also prevents your teeth from becoming damaged and prevents tooth decay.

Here’s how it works: Place a small strip of Phos-Flur on a toothbrush and apply it to your teeth for one minute and spit it out. After doing this, you should not eat or drink for 30 minutes. The reason for this is because it’s important for the active ingredient to stay on your teeth for 30 minutes.


Brushing regularly is important, but it is possible to brush your teeth too much. Over-brushing, known as toothbrush abrasion, can lead to sensitive teeth and receding gums.

Between 10 to 20 percent of the population have damaged their teeth as a result of over-brushing, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Vigorous brushing can wear down the enamel, as well as damage and push back the gums, possibly leading to other dental problems, such as periodontal disease and cavities on the roots of the teeth. That’s why it’s important not to use medium- or hard-bristled toothbrushes when you have a brace especially.

Consider this: It’s not important how hard you scrub when you are brushing your teeth; what is important is proper technique and thorough cleaning. If you are squashing the bristles, you are brushing too hard.

How can plaque cause gum disease?

If plaque is not removed by brushing, it can harden into something called ‘calculus’ – another name for it is ‘tartar’. As calculus forms near the gumline, the plaque underneath releases harmful poisons causing the gums to become irritated and inflamed.

The gums start to pull away from the teeth and the gaps become infected. If gum disease is not treated promptly, the bone supporting the teeth is destroyed, and healthy teeth can become loose and fall out. Severe gum disease can lead to teeth falling out and needing to be replaced.

How should I brush?

Brushing removes plaque and bits of food from the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth.

Here is one way to remove plaque – discuss with your dental team which is the best for you:

  • Place the head of your toothbrush against your teeth, then tilt the bristle tips to a 45-degree angle against your gumline. Move the brush in small circular movements, several times, on all the surfaces of every tooth.
  • Brush the outer surface of each tooth, upper and lower, keeping the bristles angled against your gumline. 
  • Do this again, but on the inside surfaces of all your teeth.
  • To clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several small, circular strokes with the front part of the brush.
  • Brush the biting surfaces of your teeth. 
  • Brush your tongue to help freshen your breath and clean your mouth by removing bacteria.

We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.

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