Cleaning Braces & Caring for Braces

To get the most out of your treatment, you will need to take care of your braces. Flossing and brushing can help prevent plaque and bacteria build-up that causes tooth decay and gum disease. Food particles that collect around your braces can also lead to discoloration and stains on your teeth.

Cleaning and caring for your braces can keep your treatment on track and your teeth bright and healthy. Keep reading to learn more about good hygiene habits.

Dr. Mary Cay Koen and her terrific team have helped many people in Goodlettsville achieve the smile of their dreams—schedule a free exam to learn how we can help you!


Brushing with Braces

Brushing is an essential part of keeping your braces and teeth clean. Here are some helpful tips for brushing with braces:

  • Use a soft bristle brush (electric toothbrushes work well too)
  • Detach the elastic bands and other removable parts of your braces system.
  • Angle the toothbrush to get beneath and around the bracket.
  • Brush between the wires and your teeth.
  • Clean all the surfaces of each tooth. 

Brushing thoroughly twice a day will help remove any food particles trapped around your braces. Ideally, you should brush with a fluoride toothpaste after eating meals or snacks. If you can’t brush, rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash. Be sure to brush before you go to bed! 

Brushing may seem like a hassle, but it will pay off when you can finally reveal your new, beautiful smile!

Schedule a free consultation to discover if clear braces, Damon System braces or Invisalign fit your needs!

a young woman with braces brushing her teeth with a regular toothbrush
a young woman with braces flossing her teeth

Flossing with Braces

Flossing removes the plaque and particles between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. You may think flossing with braces is impossible, but consider doing the following:

  • Cut a piece of floss between 18 and 24 inches.
  • Use a mirror to help see where to thread the floss.
  • Pull the floss between the wire and your teeth.
  • Press the floss between your two teeth, slide the string up one side just under the gumline, and then back down. Then repeat this on the side of the second tooth.
  • Carefully remove the floss, so you don’t pull out the wire or bracket.
  • Move to the next two teeth and repeat.

Floss threaders and other orthodontic aids can help you floss around your braces. Don’t forget to use a fluoride mouthwash after brushing and flossing!

Special Tools for Cleaning Braces

Some patients want some additional tools designed to clean hard-to-reach spots. Helpful tools include:

Waterpik or Oral irrigator:

Water flossers come with orthodontic-specific tips that spray a high-pressure stream to clear debris around your brackets and between your teeth. These machines are great but should not replace flossing with thread.

Interproximal Brush:

Interproximal brushes are small, cone-shaped brushes that can help you clean tiny spaces between your teeth and wire. They are also perfect for reaching the back corner of your mouth.

Floss Threader:

These inexpensive tools can speed up the flossing process by helping you thread the floss around your wires more easily. You can find floss threaders at the grocery store or in the dental care section at the pharmacy.

Dental Tape:

Some people find traditional floss painful, especially if they did not floss regularly before getting braces. Dental tape is designed more like a ribbon, allowing the tape to slide between the teeth with ease.

Foods to Avoid with Braces

Avoiding certain foods helps reduce the amount of particles that can get caught in your braces or stain your teeth:

  • Nuts: hard nuts like almonds and walnuts can bend or break parts of your braces.
  • Candy: sweets like caramel, gum, and taffy can attach to your brackets and wires and stick between your teeth.
  • Popcorn: bits of corn kernel can lodge between your teeth and gums or damage your braces.
  • Chips: crunchy chips can leave small pieces around your brackets and between your teeth and actually break brackets. 
  • Fruit and vegetables: raw pieces of apple, and carrot can bend your wires. By cutting apples in wedges and shaving carrot strips you can still eat these healthy foods.
  • Coffee and tea: dark drinks can discolor your teeth and possibly stain clear braces.
  • Sugary drinks: sugary drinks like soda and sports drinks can cause tooth decay and decalcification where the enamel turns chalky and weak.
a top view image of a table with a lot of chips and other junk food
a female orthodontic patient getting her braces inspected by her orthodontist

Orthodontist Visits

Even with meticulous dental care, you will need to schedule regular visits with Dr. Mary Cay Koen. During your check-ins, she will assess the movement of your teeth and make necessary adjustments. These visits are the perfect time to ask questions to ensure you complete your treatment with confidence. You should also visit your dentist at least every six months to receive teeth cleanings and fluoride treatments .

Properly Clean and Care for Your Braces

At Mary Cay Koen Orthodontics, our top priority is helping you get the smile you’ve always wanted. Caring for your braces during your treatment is critical to keeping your teeth and gums healthy and staying on schedule. You’ll know it was all worth it when we remove your brace and unveil your radiant smile!

Schedule your consultation today to learn what makes us the most trusted braces provider in Goodlettsville, TN!