How To Practice Good Oral Hygiene With Braces | Lux Orthodontics

by Erin L Cohen DDS | Published Mar. 22, 2021

Being on the road to your perfect smile with braces is something to celebrate! All good things come with the effort required to achieve success. With braces, that effort is in the form of maintaining a clean and healthy mouth. While one could consider it frustrating, most patients are so excited with their progress with braces that they actually become determined to keep their teeth and their braces clean.


Whether you select metal or clear braces, there are some additional steps and techniques that can be used to keep your orthodontic treatment and your oral health on the right path. Keeping focus on maintaining clean teeth and gums will pay off in the end.


Remember, orthodontic treatment with braces is a big investment, so stay motivated from the very beginning. Average treatment time is 18-24 months – a truly attainable goal! Here are some important steps in maintaining good oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment with braces:


General Tips




Brush Your Teeth

This goes without saying, but we will say it anyway – Brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes and brush at least 2-3 times per day when wearing braces. It is the most essential step in removing food, plaque and bacteria from your teeth and from your braces. Braces have four ‘wings’ or corners which are the perfect shape to trap food and to keep it hidden. Remember to brush above your braces near your gums and also below your braces. Most importantly, remember to angle your toothbrush to reach under the orthodontic wire that connects to each brace. This is often where decay and decalcification (irreversible white spots) will show once the braces are removed at the end of treatment.


With braces, consider brushing after every meal and snack. This is the ideal way to keep your braces clean. If this is not possible, try using an antibacterial mouthrinse to fight off bacteria or chew gum or mints that contains xylitol. Xylitol has been shown to reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth that lead to acid production which leads to tooth decay.




Change Your Toothbrush

Your toothbrush will see a lot more wear and tear while brushing with braces. Changing your toothbrush head at least once every three months enables your toothbrush to do a better job at removing food debris and plaque. Investing in an electric toothbrush is even more helpful. More food and plaque is removed and with less pressure required than a manual toothbrush.




Avoid These Toods

Avoid highly acidic foods in large quantities (tomatoes, pineapples, soft drinks, etc.), as they can erode the enamel on your teeth. Hard and crunchy foods can also damage your braces, which can lead to injury or an emergency appointment with your orthodontist.




Increase These Foods

Some foods are good at strengthening your enamel both in general and while wearing braces. These foods strengthen your enamel by one of the following ways – preventing growth of bacteria, breaking down plaque and bacteria, adding healthy fats, phosphorus or fiber and by lowering the acid levels in your mouth that are required for the formation of tooth decay. These foods should find their way onto your grocery list:
• Milk, cheese, yogurt, garlic, avocado, nuts, salmon, tuna, green tea, unsweetened coffee and apples.



Use Fluoride Toothpaste And Mouthrinse

Tooth decay can result and is more likely to occur while wearing braces, so make sure your toothpaste and mouthwash have fluoride in them.




Cleaning Your Braces

Here is a quick step-by-step guide to cleaning your braces:

1. Rinse: Rinsing allows food to be dislodged from your braces. Water will work, but mouthwash is the best.
2. Brush in between your teeth: Brushing between the braces can be tricky, so try using an interdental brush. Be thorough and take your time cleaning in between every set of braces.
3. Brush the wires: While using a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, turn your brush to a 45-degree angle in order to get around the wings of your braces.
4. Brush your teeth: Also at a 45-degree angle, gently brush your teeth starting at the gum line, moving in a circular motion on every surface of the teeth.
5. Floss: Flossing while wearing braces is really important to reduce decay in between your teeth. Ask your orthodontist about using a floss threader, a waterpik or other floss aid to make it easier.
6. Rinse again: Rinsing one final time ensures all debris is removed. Give yourself a big smile in the mirror for one last check… and you are done!




Visit Your Orthodontist

Visiting the experienced team and professional orthodontist at Lux Orthodontics will lead to the best care for you and for your teeth. Lux Orthodontics will schedule regular checkups for you to check your braces and to continue making progress so your treatment continues as planned.


Routine checkups with your dentist are also paramount to keep gum disease and cavities at bay. A professional cleaning at least every six months ensures that both your dentist and orthodontist are working together for you.


Contact Dr. Erin Cohen Today
For more about oral hygiene while wearing braces, to schedule an appointment for a consultation, or to learn more about how braces can improve your smile, contact Lux Orthodontics at 424 279 1444 or send us an email at Find out more at


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This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional orthodontic advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your orthodontist or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a specific condition.