Now that your braces are in place, it is very important to maintain a good oral hygiene regimen throughout the length of your treatment. What you do at home is just as important as the care you receive from us.

Brushing while Wearing Braces

Braces, wires, bands and retainers can all trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away plaque. Careful brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal and snack, is the best way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease. Remember to brush in the morning, before bed, and after every meal.

To brush your braces correctly, you'll need a good, soft-bristle toothbrush. An electric toothbrush can work as well, but be careful not to hit the back of the toothbrush against your braces. To brush, simply apply a pea-sized drop of fluoridated toothpaste to your brush and use a circular motion to brush the outsides of your teeth. A back and forth motion is effective on the chewing surfaces of the molars.

Flossing while Wearing Braces

Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day. We recommend flossing at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed.

Use a reusable floss threader to floss under your archwire. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader, and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth. Use care around your archwire, and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it.

WaterPik®

When using a WaterPik, fill the entire container with warm water and follow the gum line slowly in order to clean where the tooth and gum touch. Make sure to get in between the teeth on both the lip and tongue side.

Rinsing with an Antibacterial Mouthwash

This is great for patients who are susceptible to gum inflammation, we suggest using a hydrogen peroxide antiseptic mouth rinse. This rinse will help prevent infection and decrease irritation that may develop from your braces. Rinse your mouth with two teaspoons of the hydrogen peroxide rinse for one minute, and then spit it out. You may use it up to four times daily following brushing. Just like using peroxide for a scrape on your skin, this hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse helps the inside of your mouth heal. It can be used for general irritation caused by your braces or for canker sores, cheek bites and other minor injuries to the gums.

Using an Interdental Toothbrush

An interdental (between the teeth) toothbrush is used to clean underneath and around your archwires and braces. Please use the interdental toothbrush gently to avoid damaging your wires.

Topical Fluoride

We recommend using a sodium fluoride gel to help prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces. This gel kills bacteria and replaces minerals in the tooth enamel that have been removed by harmful acids. Using a fluoride gel does not replace daily brushing and flossing, but it should be applied following your daily schedule at bedtime. Place a small strip of the gel on a toothbrush, and apply it to your teeth for one minute. Then spit it out. Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes afterward. It is important for the active ingredient to stay on your teeth for 30 minutes, so do not wash it away by eating, drinking or rinsing.

Cleaning Your Removable Appliance

Brush your removable appliance every day as a part of your regular brushing and flossing schedule. Because food particles and plaque can accumulate on your appliance just as they do on your teeth, soak the appliance daily. Dissolve a denture-cleaning tablet in a glass of tap water at room temperature, and soak your appliance once a day.