Tips for brushing your teeth with braces

Here at Orthodontics Exclusively, we are all about smiles! That starts with getting the right information, so you know how to get the most out of your treatment. Getting braces can be a bit of an adjustment, but we are here to help you ease into your new life with braces. With these tips, you’re sure to get the best treatment so your smile can shine once it’s complete. Here are some tips for brushing your teeth with braces. 


It’s important to start your routine by swishing water around before you brush. Sometimes food can get stuck between your braces which can be difficult for your toothbrush to reach. Before brushing, rinse your mouth with water to dislodge any food particles stuck between your braces. Make sure to swish for about 30 seconds. Also, rinse your toothbrush before adding toothpaste, as this will shed debris and bacteria that may have lingered after your last brushing. Swishing with water before brushing is a great way to help loosen up food attached to your braces, making it easier to protect and perfect your smile. 

Pick a nice toothbrush

Investing in a quality toothbrush is essential to getting the best results from treatment. Your toothbrush is your primary cleaning tool for maintaining healthy oral care. Using a high-quality toothbrush while you have braces ensures your teeth remain properly cleaned and give you the best chance for the most successful treatment. Both manual and electric toothbrushes work well to clean braces, but consulting your orthodontist is recommended before choosing a new toothbrush or changing your routine. 

Electric brushes come in various styles with different appliances, so your orthodontist can help you decide what brush is right for you. The main types of electric brushes are usually battery-operated vs. rechargeable toothbrushes. Battery-operated toothbrushes typically cost less than rechargeables, which can range from $50 to $300, depending on features. 

Manual, soft toothbrushes also work just fine to clean the areas around your brackets. However, many professionals recommend the orthodontic cut, where the bristles are in a subtle “V” shape, with the middle bristles being lower than the outer bristles. 

The right toothpaste makes a difference

Your orthodontist may recommend a specific toothpaste to use, and if you’re unsure of what to choose, you can always ask. A good rule of thumb when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment and wearing braces is to avoid whitening toothpaste. If you use a whitening toothpaste when you’re wearing braces, you’ll end up with uneven whitening.  Because the toothpaste won’t be able to reach every area of your teeth. Instead, choose a toothpaste that has fluoride because this is the type of toothpaste that’s best at preventing cavities. An alternative to toothpaste with fluoride is using a fluoride gel on your teeth daily, preventing bacteria. Or, you can rinse with a fluoride liquid when you’re finished cleaning.

Brush each tooth completely

When you have braces, it is vital that you take your time and thoroughly brush all the necessary surfaces of your braces and teeth. Experts say you should spend a minimum of two minutes actively brushing your teeth, but it may take you longer, especially when you are first getting in the habit of brushing with braces. If you’re having trouble reaching all the surfaces of your teeth due to the wires and brackets, try using a proxabrush after your regular brushing routine. Its small size and flexibility will help you clean under and around your braces.

Make sure to brush the back

It’s easy to forget the back of your teeth when adjusting to brushing with braces, but they are just as crucial in the cleaning process. Brush the backs of your teeth that face your mouth and throat. Pay most attention to brushing down at the gum line, as this is where most tartar builds. Brush the backs of your teeth that face your mouth and throat. Pay most attention to brushing down at the gum line, as this is where most tartar builds. 

Maintain your positioning

It may not be something you think about when brushing, but when dealing with braces, holding your brush in the correct position is crucial for proper cleaning technique and easing potential discomfort while brushing. When you brush, make sure you keep your toothbrush in the appropriate place—at a 45-degree angle, above the gum line. Keeping your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle will allow you to reach each tooth and give you the proper angle to scrub around each bracket in your braces and any food or bacteria that may have gotten caught. 

Don’t forget to floss

Keeping the spaces between your teeth is just as important as cleaning the teeth themselves. Flossing with brackets and wires attached to your teeth can be pretty tough, but it is a necessary step to keep your treatment intact. If you are using string floss, use a floss threader to maneuver the floss around your braces. Floss threaders are loops of thin material that make it easier to clean difficult-to-reach areas of your teeth and gums with the floss. They’re disposable, work with any regular floss, and are easy to find online or at any store with a dental section. Always be gentle as you move the floss against your teeth and gums. Alternatively, you can use a water flosser to clean the tight spots between your teeth.

Start your smile journey with Orthodontics Exclusively

Here at Orthodontics Exclusively, we want to be a resource to all our patients so they can get beautiful smiles. Our team of professionals works with patients of all ages in Norman, Oklahoma City, and the surrounding areas. If you are someone you know is considering orthodontic treatment, contact us today. We would love to get you started with a free consultation.