It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly and thoroughly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment.
All the different parts of your braces, from the wires and springs, to rubber bands, can attract food and plaque. This can stain or damage teeth if not brushed away frequently and thoroughly.
If you don't think you can keep your teeth clean well enough on your own, you may benefit from more frequent visits to the dentist for professional cleanings.
If you're an adult with a history of gum disease, you should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.
Brushing & Flossing with Braces
When you have braces, it's important to brush after every meal or snack with a fluoride toothpaste to carefully remove any food that may have gotten stuck in your wires or brackets.
You may also benefit from a fluoride mouthwash, which can help clean places in your mouth that your toothbrush can't reach. A waterpik or airflosser can also be helpful in flushing out stuck food particles.
Use a regular, soft toothbrush to brush down from the top and then up from the bottom on each tooth. Then brush your teeth with a proxabrush or "Christmas tree" brush, which is specially designed for cleaning out the spaces between braces.
Insert the brush downwards from the top and then upwards from the bottom between each set of two braces. Make several strokes in each direction before moving to the next space. Repeat these steps until all teeth have been cleaned.
To floss teeth with braces, 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 sawing motion, move the floss up and down each side of the two teeth the floss is between. Be careful not to pull with too much force around the arch wire.