Tooth Brushing Tips

Important Tooth Brushing Tips

One of the common fears about orthodontics is that the braces may cause decay. This can be avoided if teeth are brushed thoroughly after every meal and snack. You cannot over brush! Your bands, and brackets bonded to your teeth, if your orthodontist has chosen to use this method, cover and protect that portion of your teeth as long as they are firmly attached.

The bands or bonded brackets do make your teeth harder to clean. The brackets, tubes and wires tend to make a little shelf around the outside of the teeth. This shelf makes it harder for your toothbrush to clean the spaces between your gums and the attachments.

If you fail to get the teeth and gum tissue clean the gums swell and make it even more difficult to clean. This can also slow down teeth movement. If you notice the gum tissue swelling or bleeding, you should brush the area more not less.

So WHEN and HOW should you clean your teeth during orthodontic treatment?
Within five minutes after you eat. Easy to say but sometimes hard to do? When you’re away from home, we suggest you carry your travel toothbrush with you.

1. First, brush back and forth across…between the wires and gums on the upper and lower to loosen the food particles.

2. Next, brush correctly as if you had no braces on.

Start on the outside of the uppers with bristles at a 45 degree angle toward the gum or shelf we have referred to. Be sure to get the brush under the archwire. Scrub with a circular motion, two or three teeth at a time using 10 strokes, and move on.
Do the same on the inner surfaces of the uppers.
Scrub the chewing surfaces last.
Start on the outside of the lower teeth and repeat this process. You will need to pull your lower lip out of the way to effectively reach the lower front teeth.

3. Rinse your mouth. LOOK IN A MIRROR to see if you have missed any places. Check the little half-moon spaces of teeth between the braces and gums. If you see any areas you have missed, clean them now.

brushingWhen you have finished, the bands and wires should be free of all food particles and the soft, white coating called plaque. The braces should look clean and shiny.

A Water Pik can be very helpful, but it is to be used AFTER thorough brushing. It is not a substitute for brushing but does remove food particles that the brush cannot reach and irrigates the gum tissue.


1. Carefully pull unwaxed floss between wire and braces.  A floss threader will be helpful.

2. Floss carefully around the braces and around the gum area of each tooth.