Oral Hygiene While Wearing Braces

Meason Orthodontics understands that maintaining a good dental hygiene routine while wearing brackets is a total pain. We are here to convince you that the extra work required to keep your teeth clean is worth it! When you get your braces off, you want that nice straight smile to be free of cavities or gum disease.

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What is a good brushing routine for braces?

Use a fluoride toothpaste but not one with extra whitening since part of your tooth is covered by brackets. Brush with small circular motions along the front and back of the teeth. Angle the toothbrush so you can loosen particles stuck in the brackets. Be sure to scrub the chewing surfaces and get as far back behind the back teeth as possible. Interdental brushes (the little disposable brushes that look like a fuzzy wand) can help clean surfaces next to the braces and between teeth. An electric toothbrush is also a good investment when you have braces. Without braces the recommended time for brushing is 2 minutes so brush at least that long. Rinse your mouth thoroughly after brushing. Swishing with an antiseptic rinse is also advised.

guy with braces

How often should I brush with braces?

Twice a day just isn’t enough brushing when you have braces. You need to brush your teeth every time you eat because food will get hung up in the brackets. Leaving that food there until you brush before going to bed is not only bad for your teeth, it can be bad for your social life. Keep a zippered bag with a dental hygiene kit with you at all times. Fill it with a small mirror, a toothbrush, some floss, some interdental brushes, toothpaste, and a collapsible cup. This way you can brush your teeth after eating even if you are away from home.

electric toothbrush and water pick

How do I floss with braces?

Flossing with braces is tricky and it adds some time to your nightly hygiene routine but the results are healthier teeth and gums. First start with a piece of waxed floss that is at least 18 inches long. This way you can use a clean piece of floss for each tooth. Next, thread the floss under the wire. Wrap it around the index fingers to keep it taut. Move the floss up and down in between the tooth on one side and up towards the gum line. Repeat the process for the tooth on the other side. Carefully pull the floss out and repeat until all teeth are flossed. A floss threader can also be used to make the threading easier. A Waterpik or other brand of water flosser with a tapered tip is helpful at cleaning hard to reach spots and makes your mouth feel fresh.

girl with braces

What foods should I avoid with braces?

Some foods are bad for braces because they can damage brackets and delay completion of treatment. Examples of these are popcorn, nuts, ice, hard candy, hard bread, beef jerky, hard tacos or chips. Other foods are bad for your teeth because they are sugary or hard to clean off braces like chewy candy, caramel, gum and soft drinks. Many foods that might be off-limits with braces can be enjoyed with extra care. For example, cut the kernels off corn on the cob, cut pizza into bite-sized pieces and avoid hard crust, cut crunchy vegetables like carrots into matchsticks and cut apples into wedges. Foods that you need to bite into, like sandwiches or hamburgers, are less messy if you cut them into pieces and eat them with a fork. Besides being easier on the braces, the brushing up afterwards is way easier too!

Our Weatherford, TX team is here to help! When you come in for your regular appointment, let us know if you have any questions about caring for your braces. We are happy to share techniques and tips to make your braces experience as pleasant as possible.

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