How To Brush Your Teeth With Braces

Welcome to Coastal Orthodontics‘ guide on how to maintain impeccable oral hygiene while wearing braces. We understand that your journey to a beautifully aligned smile involves taking exceptional care of your teeth throughout the treatment process. Proper brushing is a fundamental part of this journey, ensuring that your teeth remain healthy and your braces remain effective.

At Coastal Orthodontics, we are not just dedicated to providing you with top-notch orthodontic care; we are equally committed to your overall dental well-being. We believe that informed patients make the best decisions about their oral health, which is why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on brushing your teeth with braces.

In this article, you will discover the importance of meticulous brushing when undergoing orthodontic treatment. We’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide, expert tips, and valuable insights to help you maintain excellent oral hygiene while wearing braces. Remember, the path to a stunning smile begins with a healthy foundation, and proper brushing is a cornerstone of that foundation.

So, let’s embark on this journey together and learn how to brush your teeth with braces effectively, ensuring your smile shines brightly throughout your orthodontic adventure.

Why Proper Brushing is Vital

Maintaining excellent oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment is paramount for several compelling reasons. Let’s delve into why proper brushing with braces is not just important but essential:

Plaque and Food Particle Removal

Braces create small spaces where food particles and plaque can easily get trapped. If not removed, these particles can lead to the formation of cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.

Preventing Tooth Decay

When food particles and plaque accumulate around braces, they can produce acids that weaken tooth enamel and cause cavities. Thorough brushing helps prevent this decay.

Avoiding Gum Disease

Inadequate cleaning can lead to gum inflammation and disease. Proper brushing and flossing help to prevent these issues, ensuring your gums stay healthy.

Preserving the Appliance

Regular and careful brushing protects your braces, preventing damage and prolonging their effectiveness. Broken or damaged braces can extend your treatment time.

Enhancing Aesthetics

Orthodontic treatment is an investment in a beautiful smile. Effective brushing ensures your teeth remain clean, preserving the aesthetics of your smile throughout your journey.

Boosting Confidence

A clean and healthy mouth is crucial for self-confidence. Proper brushing helps maintain fresh breath and a beautiful smile, boosting your confidence in social situations.

Reducing Orthodontic Discomfort

Good oral hygiene can minimize the risk of oral health issues that may cause discomfort during treatment.

In essence, brushing your teeth with braces isn’t just about maintaining good oral health; it’s about safeguarding your investment in a straighter, more beautiful smile. By dedicating time to proper brushing, you’re ensuring that your orthodontic journey is as successful and comfortable as possible.

In the next sections, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of effective brushing with braces and provide valuable tips to make this task easier and more efficient.

Materials Needed for Brushing with Braces

To effectively brush your teeth with braces, it’s important to have the right materials on hand. Here’s a list of essential items you’ll need:


Choose a soft-bristle toothbrush with a small head. Soft bristles are gentle on your gums and tooth enamel, while a small head can easily navigate around braces and hard-to-reach areas.

Orthodontic Toothbrush

Consider using a specialized orthodontic toothbrush designed for braces. These toothbrushes often have V-shaped bristle designs that can effectively clean around brackets and wires.

Interdental Brush

An interdental brush, also known as a proxy brush, is a small brush designed to clean between brackets and wires. It’s especially helpful for removing food particles from tight spaces.

Dental Floss

Look for waxed dental floss or dental tape that can easily slide between teeth and under wires. Floss threaders or floss picks can make the process smoother.

Antibacterial Mouthwash

An antimicrobial or antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce the level of bacteria in your mouth and maintain oral health.

Fluoride Toothpaste

Choose a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Make sure it’s approved by your orthodontist.


A small dental mirror can be handy for checking your brushing technique and ensuring you’ve removed all debris from your braces.

Orthodontic Wax

While not for brushing, orthodontic wax can be a lifesaver if your braces cause irritation or sore spots. Keep some on hand for comfort.

Having these materials readily available makes your daily oral care routine with braces more convenient and effective. Now, let’s move on to the step-by-step guide on how to brush your teeth properly with braces.

Step-by-Step Guide to Brushing with Braces

Properly brushing your teeth with braces might take a little extra time and care, but it’s crucial to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your orthodontic treatment. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you brush your teeth effectively with braces:

Gather Your Materials

Before you begin, ensure you have all the necessary materials, including a soft-bristle toothbrush, orthodontic toothbrush, interdental brush, dental floss, fluoride toothpaste, mouthwash, a mirror, and orthodontic wax if needed.

Rinse with Water

Start by rinsing your mouth with water. Swish it around to remove loose food particles and debris.

Clean Your Hands

Wash your hands thoroughly. Clean hands ensure that you’re not transferring additional bacteria to your mouth during brushing.

Brush at a 45-Degree Angle

Apply a small amount of fluoride toothpaste to your toothbrush. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your braces, aiming the bristles toward the gumline. This angle allows the bristles to clean both your teeth and the brackets effectively.

Brush Each Tooth Individually

Begin brushing one tooth at a time, using gentle circular motions. Pay close attention to the area between the braces and your teeth. Brush for at least 10 seconds on each tooth.

Clean the Brackets and Wires

Use the orthodontic toothbrush or interdental brush to clean around and under the brackets and wires. Move systematically through your entire mouth.

Floss Between Teeth

Use dental floss to clean between your teeth and under the wires. A floss threader or floss pick can help you navigate this area more easily.

Rinse with Mouthwash

Rinse your mouth thoroughly with an antibacterial or antimicrobial mouthwash to kill remaining bacteria and freshen your breath.

Check with a Mirror

Use a dental mirror to ensure you’ve removed all debris from your braces and teeth. Pay attention to any hard-to-reach spots.

Apply Orthodontic Wax

If you notice any brackets or wires causing irritation or sore spots, apply a small piece of orthodontic wax to provide relief.

Rinse Again

Give your mouth one final rinse with water to remove any remaining toothpaste or debris.

Clean Your Brushes

Rinse your toothbrush, orthodontic toothbrush, and interdental brush thoroughly, and allow them to air dry.

Repeat After Meals

Ideally, you should brush after every meal or snack to prevent food particles from getting stuck in your braces. If you can’t brush, rinse your mouth with water and floss to dislodge any trapped debris.

Remember, patience and thoroughness are key when brushing with braces. Take your time, and don’t rush the process. Proper brushing will help ensure a healthy smile once your braces come off.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While brushing with braces is essential, there are some common mistakes that individuals often make. To maintain good oral hygiene and protect your teeth and braces, here are some mistakes to avoid:

Using a Hard-Bristle Toothbrush

Using a hard-bristle toothbrush can damage your braces and enamel. Always choose a soft-bristle toothbrush that’s gentle on your teeth and braces.

Brushing Too Hard

Brushing aggressively might seem effective, but it can lead to damage to your braces and gums. Apply gentle pressure and let the bristles do the work.

Skipping Interdental Cleaning

Neglecting to clean between your teeth and under the wires can result in plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum problems. Use interdental brushes or floss to clean these areas daily.

Neglecting the Gumline

Plaque often accumulates at the gumline, so make sure to brush thoroughly in this area to prevent gum issues.

Not Rinsing with Mouthwash

Rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash helps kill bacteria and reduces the risk of cavities and gum disease. Don’t skip this crucial step.

Brushing Too Quickly

Rushing through your brushing routine can leave behind food particles and plaque. Take your time to ensure a thorough clean.

Forgetting to Replace Your Toothbrush

Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3 to 4 months or sooner if the bristles are frayed.

Ignoring Orthodontic Wax

If your braces cause irritation or sores in your mouth, don’t ignore them. Apply orthodontic wax to alleviate discomfort.

Not Attending Regular Check-ups

Regular dental check-ups are essential during orthodontic treatment. Your dentist can identify any issues early and ensure your teeth and braces are in good condition.

Eating the Wrong Foods

Avoid hard, sticky, and chewy foods that can damage your braces. Opt for braces-friendly foods to prevent issues.

By avoiding these common mistakes and following proper brushing techniques, you’ll keep your teeth and braces clean and healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment.

Tips for Effective Brushing with Braces

Brushing your teeth with braces requires some extra care and attention. Here are some tips to ensure effective cleaning:

Start with the Right Tools

Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. An interdental brush or floss threader can help clean between wires and brackets.

Rinse Before Brushing

Swish with water before brushing to dislodge food particles.

Brush Gently

Apply gentle pressure to avoid damaging your braces. Brush at a 45-degree angle to the brackets and along the gumline.

Divide and Conquer

Break your mouth into quadrants and focus on each section for about 30 seconds. Don’t forget the front, back, and chewing surfaces of your teeth.

Clean Brackets and Wires

Pay special attention to the areas around your brackets and wires. Angle your brush to clean under the wires.

Use Interdental Brushes or Floss

Clean between your teeth and under the wires with interdental brushes or floss threaders. This prevents plaque buildup.

Rinse with Mouthwash

Finish with an antimicrobial mouthwash to kill bacteria and leave your mouth feeling fresh.

Check Your Work

Use a mirror to inspect your teeth and braces. Look for any remaining food particles or plaque.

Brush After Meals

Try to brush after each meal to prevent food from getting stuck in your braces.

Carry a Travel Kit

Keep a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss with you so you can brush on the go.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Don’t skip your orthodontic check-ups. Your orthodontist can ensure your braces are in good condition and make any necessary adjustments.

Be Patient

Brushing with braces can take a little longer, but it’s worth the effort for a healthy smile.

Remember that good oral hygiene is crucial during orthodontic treatment. Proper brushing and regular check-ups will help you achieve the best results and maintain your oral health.

Flossing and Interdental Cleaning with Braces

Flossing and interdental cleaning are vital components of your oral hygiene routine when you have braces. Here’s how to do it effectively:

Choose the Right Tools

Traditional floss can be challenging to use with braces. Consider using specialized tools like floss threaders, orthodontic floss, or interdental brushes. These are designed to navigate around wires and brackets.

Start with a Floss Threader

If you’re using traditional floss, thread it under the wire of your braces using a floss threader. This helps you get the floss between your teeth without struggling.

Use Orthodontic Floss

Orthodontic floss is thinner and more flexible than regular floss. It can easily slide between teeth and around brackets. Make a “C” shape with the floss to hug each tooth and remove trapped debris.

Interdental Brushes

Interdental brushes are small, soft brushes that can fit between your teeth and braces. Insert the brush gently between your teeth, making sure to reach the gumline.

Water Flosser

A water flosser, also known as an oral irrigator, can be very effective with braces. It uses a stream of water to clean between teeth and around brackets. Be sure to aim the stream at a 90-degree angle to the gumline for thorough cleaning.

Floss Regularly

Aim to floss at least once a day, ideally in the evening before brushing your teeth. This helps remove food particles and plaque that accumulate throughout the day.

Take Your Time

Flossing with braces can be a bit more time-consuming, but it’s worth it. Be patient and gentle to avoid damaging your braces or hurting your gums.

Rinse with Mouthwash

After flossing, rinse your mouth with an antimicrobial or fluoride mouthwash. This can help kill bacteria and strengthen enamel.

Regular Orthodontic Check-ups

Keep up with your scheduled orthodontic appointments. Your orthodontist can provide guidance on flossing techniques and recommend any necessary adjustments.

Seek Help if Needed

If you’re having difficulty flossing with braces or notice any persistent issues, don’t hesitate to consult your orthodontist. They can offer solutions or alternative cleaning methods.

Remember that flossing and interdental cleaning help prevent plaque buildup and reduce the risk of cavities and gum problems during your orthodontic treatment. Make these practices a part of your daily routine to maintain a healthy and beautiful smile with braces.

Professional Guidance from Coastal Orthodontics

At Coastal Orthodontics, we understand that navigating orthodontic care, including proper brushing and flossing with braces, can be a new experience for many patients. That’s why we’re here to provide you with expert guidance and support throughout your orthodontic journey.

Our team of experienced orthodontists and dental professionals is committed to ensuring your treatment is not only effective but also comfortable and hassle-free. Here’s how we can help:

Customized Treatment Plans

We create personalized treatment plans tailored to your unique needs and goals. Whether you have traditional braces or Invisalign, our plans are designed to achieve the best results for your smile.

Braces Maintenance

We’ll teach you how to care for your braces properly. From brushing techniques to using interdental cleaning tools, we’ll ensure you have the knowledge and skills to maintain excellent oral hygiene throughout your treatment.

Regular Check-ups

We’ll schedule regular check-up appointments to monitor your progress, make any necessary adjustments to your braces, and address any concerns you may have. These visits are essential for tracking your treatment’s success.

Education and Support

Our team will educate you on the importance of oral hygiene with braces and provide practical tips for at-home care. We’re here to answer your questions and offer guidance whenever you need it.

Emergency Care

In case of orthodontic emergencies, such as a broken bracket or wire, we offer prompt care to minimize discomfort and keep your treatment on track.

Advanced Technology

Coastal Orthodontics is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to ensure precise and efficient orthodontic care. Our commitment to staying at the forefront of orthodontic advancements benefits your treatment experience.

Friendly and Welcoming Environment

We understand that orthodontic treatment can be a significant journey. Our team strives to create a friendly and welcoming environment where you feel comfortable and confident throughout your visits.

Patient-Centered Approach

Your needs and preferences are at the forefront of our care. We work closely with you to achieve the smile you’ve always wanted while considering your lifestyle and preferences.

Remember that your orthodontic journey is a partnership between you and Coastal Orthodontics. By following our guidance and maintaining good oral hygiene practices, you can look forward to a beautiful and healthy smile when your braces come off.

If you ever have questions or concerns about caring for your braces or your overall orthodontic treatment, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We’re here to support you every step of the way. Your smile is our priority.


Achieving a straight and healthy smile with braces is a journey that requires commitment, patience, and proper care. At Coastal Orthodontics, we believe that every smile is unique, and our mission is to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted while ensuring your oral health.

Proper brushing and oral hygiene are essential components of your orthodontic care. By following the guidelines and tips provided in this article, you can maintain the health of your teeth and gums throughout your treatment with braces. Remember, good oral hygiene practices not only contribute to the success of your treatment but also promote overall dental health.

If you have any questions or concerns about caring for your braces, Coastal Orthodontics is here to help. Our team of experienced orthodontists and dental professionals is dedicated to providing you with the support and guidance you need to make your orthodontic journey as smooth as possible.

Your beautiful, confident smile is our ultimate goal. With the right care and professional assistance, you’re on your way to achieving it. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Coastal Orthodontics for any orthodontic-related questions or to schedule your next appointment. We look forward to helping you transform your smile and enhance your overall oral health.

Remember, a healthy, radiant smile is a reflection of your overall well-being, and we’re here to make sure your journey to that smile is a positive and successful one.

Picture of Dr. Kaur

Dr. Kaur

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