Proper Brushing and Maximizing the Benefits of Braces

Brushing Your Teeth With Braces

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.

To brush your teeth with braces, use a two-step system – brush from the top down and then from the bottom up – to help dislodge any particles that may be stuck in the brackets. You can also use a specially designed brush to clean between brackets. When flossing, use a floss threader or a floss with a stiff end and thread it carefully under the main wire (called the arch wire) between each tooth, then floss carefully between the teeth, and be sure to avoid putting pressure on the arch wire. In case your orthodontist doesn’t mention it, keep in mind that it will probably take about three times longer to clean teeth with braces than to clean teeth without braces, so plan accordingly.