Taking Care of Your Teeth While In Orthodontic Treatment

Following an oral hygiene routine at home is a very important part of orthodontic treatment. Gray & Ehrler Orthodontic Specialists want to make sure our patients understand the importance of maintaining a daily oral care regimen, and know how to take care of their teeth and gums while in braces or any other fixed orthodontic appliance.

When you have braces on, the presence of wires, brackets and bands make thorough cleaning of your teeth more difficult. As a result, it is common for plaque to accumulate around the brackets. This plaque poses a risk in that it can cause demineralization of your teeth’s enamel. This process can cause white spots to appear on the teeth after your braces are removed. A well-maintained oral hygiene routine while in braces can help prevent this as well more serious problems like gum disease. Follow the tips and guidelines below to ensure healthy teeth and gums during and after orthodontic treatment.


Brushing is an essential part of any oral hygiene routine, particularly while in orthodontic treatment. You should try and brush within 5 minutes after every meal for optimal results. Follow these steps while brushing:

  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to make sure you are cleaning every corner of your teeth while lessening gum irritation.
  • First, brush back and forth across the teeth and gums to remove food particles.
  • Next, brush between the braces and under the gums in a circular motion, a few teeth at a time.
  • You should brush 10 times in each area before moving on to the next.
  • Scrub the chewing surfaces of your teeth last.
  • Don’t forget to brush the roof of your mouth and your tongue in addition to your teeth!


Daily flossing is also very important for those with braces or other fixed appliances. You should floss at least once a day, and follow these steps while doing it:

  • Wrap the ends of the floss around your index fingers and direct the floss under the arch wire of your braces.
  • Wrap a “C” form around the tooth, and guide the floss along of the sides of the tooth and under the gum line.
  • Repeat the above step for each tooth.


Rinsing is also an important part of any oral health regimen. When you are done brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth carefully with water or an antiseptic dental rinse. Antiseptic dental rinses are highly effective in killing bacteria and can help minor gum irritations from orthodontic appliances. It can also cleanse canker sores, minor wounds and other gum and mouth irritations.

Interdental Toothbrush

An interdental toothbrush, or proxabrush, is another tool you can use in addition to brushing and flossing to clean those hard-to-reach areas between your teeth and braces. It can be used to clean under wires and around the brackets. Use this toothbrush slowly and carefully to avoid damaging your appliance.


Retainers spend a lot of time in your mouth, and therefore they need to be cleaned frequently and regularly. You should brush your retainer daily with your soft-bristled toothbrush and some toothpaste. When brushing the retainer, do not use hot water as it can distort the plastic and make it unusable. If you are eating and your retainer is not in your mouth, keep it in the case that we gave you to keep it clean and safe.

Foods to Avoid

While in braces, there are certain foods you should avoid that could either increase your risk of cavities or damage your brackets and wires. Try and stay away from hard and sticky foods like caramel, gum and hard candy. They can damage your braces and get stuck. If sugary food does get stuck around the braces, it can cause unwanted cavities on your teeth. You should also avoid chewing on ice cubes while in treatment.

If you follow the above steps on a daily basis, you can avoid unwanted demineralization or future gum disease, and ensure a healthy mouth during and after treatment.