Cleaning And Caring For Braces

By investing in braces, you’ve taken an exciting and important first step toward a beautiful new smile and lifelong oral health! Taking care of braces requires many of the same steps as caring for teeth without braces – daily brushing and flossing, regular checkups — but with extra attention due to the brackets and wires that make up your appliance.

With proper care and cleaning of your braces, you can keep your orthodontic treatment on schedule and ensure a positive orthodontic experience. Let’s review some of the steps required to keep your braces clean.

Brushing With Braces

One of the most important steps in caring for your braces is maintaining excellent oral hygiene during your treatment. When brushing with braces, we recommend brushing twice a day for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste.

Pay special attention to brushing under wires and around brackets. To get beneath the wires of your braces, hold your toothbrush at an angle and brush each wire from the top down. Next, brush each tooth, starting at the gum line, and work your way down on the tooth’s surface. Additionally, brush thoroughly after meals, snacks, and beverages.

Woman smiling cleaning teeth with braces
Woman flossing her teeth with dental floss

Flossing With Braces

Flossing is a vital part of your braces’ care and cleaning routine. We recommend flossing at least once a day. The process for flossing is a bit different with braces, and flossing aids such as a floss threader can help. Using a threader is much like threading a needle: You pull one end of floss through the threader and then push the threader — carrying with it the free end of the floss — under the archwire.

Now grasp the floss on each end and slide it up and down the sides of both teeth. Oral irrigators, such as WaterPiks, do not replace traditional flossing but can be an excellent tool for providing additional help clearing debris from beneath wires and brackets.

Special Tools For Cleaning Braces

Several specialized tools can help you clean and care for your braces:

Floss Threaders

A floss threader is an indispensable tool that can help you quickly and efficiently floss beneath your braces. This tool is a loop that helps you pull floss behind your brace wires. Threaders are inexpensive and readily available in supermarkets and pharmacies. After a little practice, using a floss threader becomes second nature.

Water Flossers

A water flosser, or oral irrigator, uses a stream of water to remove food debris and plaque that’s stuck under braces wire and in between teeth. While they cannot replace traditional flossing, water flossers are an excellent supplement to your flossing routine and can help remove additional debris.

Proxa Brush

An interproximal, or proxa brush, is a small tool with a tip like a conical pipe cleaner. It’s a more precise tool than a normal toothbrush, so it’s good for cleaning hard-to-reach spots in your braces. These brushes can help clean hard-to-reach areas and get between wires, brackets, and teeth.


An antibacterial, fluoride mouthwash is an excellent way to wrap up your oral care routine. These washes provide additional protection against tooth decay and gum disease. You may choose to use mouthwash after brushing and flossing and after meals.

An antiseptic, hydrogen peroxide mouthwash such as Peroxyl may also be recommended to reduce any gum and cheek inflammation, prevent infection, and decrease irritation while wearing braces.

Foods To Avoid With Braces

It is important to avoid hard, sticky, or sugary foods while wearing braces. These foods can easily damage your braces, get caught between your wires and brackets, and cause tooth decay and damage.

Sticky Foods to Avoid:
  • Hard candy like Lifesavers and Jolly Ranchers
  • Chewy candy like Tootsie Rolls, Skittles, and Starbursts
  • Gum Sour candies
  • M&Ms or other hard chocolates
  • Candy with nuts
  • Gummy candy
  • Dried fruit
Hard Foods to Avoid:
  • Ice
  • Hard snacks like pretzels, popcorn, pita chips
  • Hard taco shells
  • Nuts
  • Corn on the cob
  • Apples or carrots Hard bread like french bread, bagels, pizza crust
  • Chips or crackers
Glass jars with lots of different candies
Girl with braces with Doctor from Vinson Orthodontics

Visit the Orthodontist Regularly

While you have braces, you will need to visit the orthodontist regularly for adjustments to your appliance. Some discomfort after an adjustment is normal, but if you feel considerable pain or have other concerns about your braces, you should contact us immediately.

It is also important to see your dentist regularly. They will monitor your oral health, and your hygienist can perform special cleaning techniques for those with braces to ensure your smile stays its healthiest during your orthodontic treatment.

Contact Vinson Orthodontics to Discuss Braces Care

Braces require a little extra care and attentive cleaning, and the reward for your extra efforts is a beautiful smile and a lifetime of orthodontic health! Regular brushing, flossing, and checkups with your orthodontist and dentist can help ensure successful treatment.

Our team at Vinson Orthodontics is here to address any questions or concerns you have about cleaning and caring for your braces! Contact us today for a complimentary consultation!