Proper brushing and flossing is an important habit to the average person, so consider it an absolute MUST for anyone with braces! Your braces and orthodontic fixtures are a trap for food particles, and if they are not properly cleaned out, these bits of food can leave permanent white or brown stains on the teeth after your braces are removed. Ask your orthodontist for help picking out the perfect toothpaste and toothbrush for your specific orthodontic appliance.
Proper brushing and flossing methods are a little different when you have braces. Read the descriptions below for step-by-step instructions on how to floss and brush with braces.
- Start by brushing your teeth exactly as you normally would, rotating the brush in a circular motion.
- To make sure you clear all the food particles that may be trapped in your braces brackets, tilt your brush at a 45-degree angle above the bracket and brush downwards onto your teeth – right at the spot where the top half of the bracket meets the tooth.
- Repeat this for the bottom half of your teeth, angling upwards where the bottom half of the bracket meets your tooth.
- Brush once again as normal, making sure to brush each outer, inner, and chewing surfaces, and rinse thoroughly.
- Take a piece of dental floss approximately 18 inches long.
- First, slide the floss through the wire in between two brackets, and then pull it in between the teeth.
- Gently move the floss back in forth in a sawing motion, curving it toward each side of the tooth and gently sliding it beneath the gum.
- Free the floss from between your teeth, and then pull the full piece out of the bracket.
- Repeat this process for each tooth.
Although flossing with braces is tricky, you can get the hang of it with practice if you follow these steps:
- Floss once a day: Use waxed floss (unwaxed floss is more likely to get caught and shred in your braces), dental tape or a product specifically designed to clean around your braces. Use waxed floss and thread it carefully under the main wire before passing between two teeth. Don’t snap it—simply move up and down gently, remove, and move on to the next pair of teeth. Use Oral-B Superfloss®, which is self-threading or regular floss with a floss threader to place above and below the orthodontic wire.
- Use enough: About 18 inches of floss should suffice
- Thread it carefully: Take the floss and carefully thread it under the main wire of the braces before passing it between two teeth. Then remove the floss and re-thread it under the main wire to pass between the next pair of teeth
- Be sure not to snap the floss – simply move it up and down gently against the side of each tooth