Brushing & Flossing with Braces

bracesOral Hygiene for Braces
Our team wants to provide you with exceptional orthodontic care. We want you to leave our office smiling with confidence when your braces are removed.
Follow these simple brushing instructions and your smile will look GREAT!

Brushing Tools

  • A soft-bristled, bi-level brush (shorter bristles in the middle and longer bristles at the edges)
  • An interdental “Christmas tree” toothbrush
  • Floss

Three Necessary Tooth-Brushing Steps

Brush 4-5 times a day (morning, nighttime & after meals) for 3 mins each time with the following techniques…

Step One:

Brush the following areas in a HORIZONTAL (back and forth motion)

  • On the chewing surfaces of the teeth
  • On all the braces, clear back to the last tooth
  • In between the braces and the gum tissue
  • On the inside surfaces of all the teeth

Step Two:

Brush in a CIRCULAR motion

  • Make small circles with the toothbrush from your gum tissue around to the biting surfaces of your teeth. Start on one side of your mouth and work around to the other side.

Step Three:

This step cleans the portion of your tooth under the archwire!

  • Place a toothbrush on the biting edge of your teeth with the bristles up until they touch the gum tissue. OR use an interdental “Christmas tree” brush to go between the wire and your teeth.

Flossing between metal brackets

Don’t Forget To Floss

Slip the floss behind the archwire and floss between the teeth in a C-shape motion underneath the gumline. We recommend flossing 1x/day.

  • Now rinse out really well and look in the mirror. Did you miss any areas? If so, keep working at it until clean!!
  • Floss threaders, soft picks & superfloss are helpful flossing tools.

Flossing braces

Always Rinse


We recommend that our patients rinse once a day with a fluoride supplement.

  • Phos-Flur is available by ordering online or at most pharmacies, however, some pharmacists keep it behind the counter, and you must ask for it. The 500 ml bottle will last approximately three months.
  • You will rinse once a day after a thorough brushing, preferably at bedtime.
  • The purpose of this rinse is to prevent decalcification of the teeth (white marks) and decay. With proper brushing and rinsing with Phos-Flur, your teeth will remain clean and healthy during your orthodontic treatment.

Video Transcript

I would like to review, placing the wax one more time, take your wax, make a little ball, and then you can just take it and push it right onto the brace and mold it around the brace. And as you can see, it covers the area that might be rough or scratchy. You will need to take the wax off when you brush to do that. Just peel it right off the brace and throw it away and get a new piece out as needed. If you happen to swallow a piece of wax, it’s okay. It will not hurt you. You may never use wax and that’s fine. And you may use a lot of wax and if you need it, when you come for your appointments, feel free to ask for wax. We’ll be happy to give you some.

The next thing I do want to do is cover the tooth brushing up close. The first step is the horizontal step. We’re going to brush back and forth right on the chewing surface. This gets the chewing surface of the tooth. Then we’re going to get on the inside and get that area covered, then we’re going to come above the brace. The bristles go right on top of the brace. And you’re going to want to go back and forth right along the gum line. This does not have to be a hard scrub, but you do need to get along the gum line and the top of the tooth, that is your first step.That is the horizontal step.

The last step is the squiggles or the circular step. You’re going to put the bristles onto the brace and circle around each one. Brushing one tooth at a time, top to bottom and work your way around from one side to the other, circling around and finally, you’re going to finish with your squiggle step. You’re going to put the bristles. The chewing surface and wiggle the bristles under the wire toward the gum line. Once again, one tooth at a timeworking your way all around until you get to the other side. You’re going to do this top and bottom for three minutes, total. This is a little interdental brush. This goes under the wire. To get things clean. It looks like a little pipe cleaner and you just spend the end up and then the brush, you take it.And it goes right up under the wire and you brush back and forth and just kind of wiggle around in there, pull it out and go to the next tooth. This really helps to get clean under that wire and get things clean.

I’d like to teach you how to floss. I don’t care. What kind of flashy is, but I just want you to take a piece of floss. You’re going to take that and go underneath the wire and thread it through. Then you’re going to take your floss and you’re going to go between the teeth, go back and forth against the tooth and up under the gum line, and then do the same thing on the opposite side.

Once you’re done, you can either pull the floss through the teeth or you can pull it out from between the teeth and slide it out. You will do that in between each and every tooth.

Poor Oral Hygiene Can Result In Enamel Decalcification, Cavities & Swollen, Tender Gums

Enamel Decalcification

Decalcification is PERMANENT staining of your teeth. High-sugar diets with lack of good oral hygiene are factors that contribute to this non-reversible damage to the enamel, NOT THE BRACES!

Foods To Avoid

  • If a food fits into one of these categories then it’s best to avoid:
  • Examples include: Taffy, Caramels, Starbursts & all fruit-flavored candy (too sticky), Gum (any kind), Hard candy, Ice, bagels, granola bars, pizza crust, thick pretzels, hard nuts
  • Cut apples, carrots & celery into small pieces
  • NO SODA DRINKS- regular or diet.

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