Oral Hygiene With Braces

When you have braces, it is essential that the teeth and gums are cleaned well, and plaque remains at a minimum. Plaque buildup can lead to problems such as bad breath, cavities, swollen gums, permanent tooth stains, and gum disease. If you have braces you may find it difficult to commit to proper oral hygiene. Here at New England Orthodontic Specialists, we can provide the essential information to ensure you know how to clean your teeth and gums for maximum oral health.

Close up of girl with braces holding interdental and traditional toothbrush


So, what do you need to clean your teeth? With braces, you will need to have a toothbrush with bristles that are soft and a brushing surface that is flat. Depending on the type of braces you have, a special toothbrush might be recommended by your dentist for your cleaning needs. You will need to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride as well as dental floss to reach in-between the teeth.
•  Put toothpaste on your toothbrush and place the brush at a 45-degree angle
•  Brush the gum line with a small circular motion on each tooth
•  Spend at least 10 seconds on each tooth before moving onto the next
•  Don’t miss any teeth!
•  Gentle brush the braces but press firmly enough so the bristles get behind the wire
•  Brush in and around all brackets at wires
•  Brush both the inside and outsides of your teeth
•  Use a firm back and forth motion
•  Spit out the excess paste and then inspect your pearly whites
•  Replace your elastics if necessary

Also consider rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash to finish the routine.

A proxy brush can be used to remove food particles from around your brackets and in between teeth. A proxy brush is a small, flexible brush that can easily slide up and around the braces on your teeth. Some people carry them around everywhere so they can quickly remove stuck food.

Children who are old enough to brush their own teeth may need help until they are comfortable with the appropriate brushing angle while wearing braces.

And don’t forget to floss!

Along with brushing, flossing is just as important when brushing your teeth. Flossing can be done with braces on, but the floss must be threaded under the archwire and between the teeth. A floss threader is quite helpful when flossing with braces. The threader is a large plastic needle that makes flossing much easier to do with the wires in place.

To floss, thread the floss under the archwire. Remove the threader and then floss the tooth on each side. Repeat the threader and clean method with each tooth until all food particles are removed.

Taking care of your teeth while wearing braces requires diligence. Children in braces may not have the discipline they need to care for their teeth while wearing braces, so it is important for parents to provide encouragement and help. You should continue to see your dentist at least twice per year for professional cleanings and check-ups.

Knowing how to brush and floss your teeth while wearing braces is crucial to avoid tartar buildup, stains, and cavities. The staff at New England Orthodontic Specialists is always more than happy to provide brushing and flossing education and demonstration. Please call our office at (978) 922-3462 with any questions.


497 Cabot St
Beverly, MA 01915-2537


15 Main St.
Topsfield, MA 01983

Call Us:

(978) 922-3462

Office Hours:

Mon - 8:00 - 5:00
Tues - Closed
Wed - 8:00 - 5:00
Thurs - 8:00 - 5:00
Fri - 8:00 - 4:00