How To Properly Brush & Floss With Metal Braces

How To Properly Brush & Floss With Metal Braces

Orthodontic treatment can be an exciting time in life, but it can also pose some challenges. To get the most out of your investment, it is essential to understand the proper methods and tools to help correctly brush and floss your teeth with braces.

In this article, we’ll describe how to take care of your teeth effectively during treatment. After an orthodontist applies your braces, they will provide a guide on how to care for your teeth and the best ways to keep them clean. Though it may seem like a tedious process for first-time orthodontic patients, it is relatively simple once it becomes a routine.

What kind of toothbrush should I use?

The two options for toothbrushes are manual and electric.

An electric toothbrush is an ideal option for thoroughly cleaning your teeth during orthodontic treatment. Electric toothbrushes offer many features that include adjustable settings, different brush heads, timers, pressure sensors, and more. If you choose to use an electric brush, a great option is to purchase an orthodontic head attachment for thorough cleaning practices and best results.

Manual toothbrushes are also suitable for brushing around metal brackets and wires and have the advantage of being smaller. Smaller toothbrushes will be able to navigate and reach tighter spaces. However, dental professionals recommend using a model with an orthodontic cut. An orthodontic “cut” refers to v-shaped bristles, with the middle bristles lower than the outer.

How many times do I need to brush a day?

It’s simple: brush your teeth every morning, after every meal, after sugary snacks and drinks, and before bed. Failure to remove bacteria or food particles could lead to unwanted cavities, plaque buildup, bad breath, or even gum disease.

What is the most efficient way to brush my teeth with braces?

1.     Thoroughly rinse your mouth with water to remove any food particles that have become stuck to the brackets.

2.     The mouth has four quadrants, and you should spend at least 30 seconds in each. Position your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.

3.     Brush all parts of your teeth (fronts, sides, backs, chewing surfaces) in short, circular strokes and clean around each bracket.

4.     Focus on the space between the braces and the hard-to-reach areas in the back of the mouth.

5.     After brushing, thoroughly rinse your mouth again to flush away any missed particles.

How do I properly floss with braces?

Flossing is slightly more challenging than brushing with braces, but that does not mean you can skip this important step! It may take time to get the hang of flossing during treatment, but remember, practice makes perfect. Below are five simple steps to follow:

1.     Thread waxed floss between the main wire and your teeth. Wrap the ends of the floss around your index fingers.

2.     Gently push the floss between the two teeth and slide it into the gap.

3.     Slide the floss up and down the side of each tooth and down into the gum point.

4.     Repeat this process until you have thoroughly flossed all of your teeth.

5.     Remove the floss and gently unthread it from behind the wire.

What other appliances will help with my oral hygiene routine during treatment?

There are multiple tools available on the market to help make your journey with orthodontics a bit more manageable.

Water Flosser

A water flosser is a popular alternative to floss and is often recommended for those with braces because it eliminates the hassle of maneuvering traditional floss around your brackets and wires. It is a handheld device with a reservoir that you fill with water, and when turned on, the water streams out of a specialized tip, and the pulse rate eliminates food particles and plaque. Water flossers are available in both battery-operated and rechargeable models and offer a variety of interchangeable tips.

Floss Threader

A floss threader is a tool that allows dental floss to clean underneath orthodontic appliances easily. This helpful tool is disposable and will work with any regular dental floss. Cleaning between your teeth is vital, and this tool can help make the process easier.

Tongue Cleaner

Are you brushing your tongue every time you brush your teeth? It is often overlooked in oral care routines but is a vital part of the mouth to properly clean. Regularly scrubbing or scraping the surface eliminates bacteria and will help keep your teeth and gums healthy. You can brush your tongue with a toothbrush, but you can also purchase a tongue cleaning tool, such as a scrapper.

Interdental Brushes

Interdental brushes are an excellent tool to use during orthodontic treatment. The small devices contain wire bristles that fit perfectly between the teeth. The brushes are inserted at the gum line and are a convenient tool to navigate around your wires.


Complete your at-home braces cleaning routine with a rinse of fluoride mouthwash. It will act as extra protection against tooth decay and will help to keep your breath fresh.

Maintaining your oral health with braces is more important than ever. For more recommendations and tips to ensure proper brushing, flossing, and a healthy mouth during treatment, contact your orthodontist today.

To determine how much your treatment will cost, contact Dr. Vivek Cheba to book a consultation.

Your Calgary Orthodontist

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