Brushing & Flossing

Brushing and flossing regularly and thoroughly is important when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment.

Braces, wires, elastics, springs, and other orthodontic appliances can cause a build-up of food and plaque. This can stain or damage teeth if not cleaned off on a regular basis.

Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may need to visit the dentist more frequently for professional cleaning.

Adults who have a history of gum disease should see a periodontist regularly during orthodontic treatment.

Brushing & Flossing with Braces

While you're wearing your braces, we suggest you brush after every meal or snack with a fluoride toothpaste to thoroughly remove any food that may have gotten caught in your braces.

In some cases, we will also prescribe a fluoride mouthwash, which can help clean places in your mouth that your toothbrush can't access. A waterpik or airflosser can also help to flush out food particles.


Use a regular, soft toothbrush to brush your teeth and braces. Brush up from the bottom and then down from the top for each tooth with braces.

Next, brush your teeth with a proxabrush or "Christmas tree" brush. This type of brush is specifically designed to clean out the spaces between braces.

Start by brushing the outside of each tooth at least 10 times. Then, brush where your gums and teeth meet, using a circular motion. Brush the inside surface of each tooth at least 10 times, too. Brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth last.


Flossing can be a little tricky with braces, until you get the hang of it. Feed the the floss through the space between the main arch wire and the portion of the tooth closest to the gum.

Using a gentle back and forth sawing motion, move the floss up and down each side of the teeth the floss is between. Be careful not to pull with too hard around the arch wire.


You should be brushing at least three times a day - once at breakfast, once at lunch and one more time before you go to bed.

If you are not able to brush after you eat, be sure to rinse thoroughly with water, and NEVER skip brushing at night before you go to bed.

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