Your Guide to Brushing with Braces

When you’re new to orthodontic treatment, it might seem like there’s a lot to learn. From getting used to chewing or speaking with a new appliance to relearning how to brush your teeth with braces, it’s important to give yourself space to adapt to new routines – and with the help of the Orbach Orthodontics team, we’ll make sure you’re on the road to success in no time. To get started, here’s your guide to brushing with braces so you can keep your smile happy and healthy with confidence. 

Your Guide to Brushing with Braces

You’ve been brushing your teeth since you were a kid, so you’re already an expert at keeping your smile happy and healthy. However, now that you have a brand-new appliance to maneuver around with your toothbrush, it doesn’t hurt to “brush” up on some tips and tricks from our team. Keep reading to learn how to brush your teeth with braces to get the most out of your oral hygiene routine. 

#1: Get the Right Tools

Having an orthodontic toolkit is a must for all new braces-wearers, and that includes the right toothbrush, toothpaste, mouth rinse, and floss. To start, we recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush. The soft bristles are flexible enough to clean around your brackets and wires without harming your appliance or your teeth. You should pair this with a fluoride toothpaste that will strengthen your enamel and protect your teeth from cavities as well. 

We also recommend investing in a water flosser and/or floss threaders. Floss threaders work like a soft needle to guide the floss between your teeth and help you target the hard-to-reach areas where food particles might linger. A water flosser can also work wonders for braces patients, as it uses a targeted stream of water to dislodge leftover food particles that may remain between the teeth. 

#2: Floss First

Although everyone has their own oral hygiene order of operations, we recommend flossing first. Using your water flosser or floss threader, your first job is to loosen up any leftover bits of food that might be stuck between your teeth or around your brackets to pave the path for brushing. 

#3: Rinse Your Mouth

Again, many patients may be used to rinsing their mouth after brushing their teeth, but when brushing with braces, rinsing first can go a long way. Use mouthwash or a simple sip of water to rinse your mouth and dislodge any food particles before brushing. You’ll thank us for this tip later! 

#4: Brush with Intent

Now that you’re ready to brush your teeth with braces, it’s all about the angles. Position your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums to help the bristles reach the space between the gums and the braces where plaque is most likely to accumulate. Then, use small, gentle, circular motions to brush the outside of your teeth, making sure to cover each tooth individually and brush above and below the brackets.

Don’t forget to brush the inner and chewing surfaces of your teeth as well as the tongue for the best results. 

#5: Check Your Work

Now that you’re done, it’s time to admire your work in the mirror. Check to see if you have any remaining food particles that you missed while brushing, and make sure that you have brushed every tooth. If you’re good to go, then you can move on! If you see anything left over, be sure to use a mouth rinse, floss, or even re-brush your teeth to remove anything that could cause plaque buildup later. 

Your Guide to Brushing with Braces

What Happens When You Don’t Brush Your Teeth with Braces

We hate to bring up the nightmare scenario, but we have to warn you! There are more than a few reasons why brushing your teeth with a new routine is so important. Poor brushing with braces can cause a wide range of issues, from cavities to white spots, but fortunately, you can prevent all of them by brushing with braces using the steps above. 

Bad Breath 

This one might be obvious, but it’s obvious for a reason! Letting food particles and plaque accumulate in your mouth can cause a stench at any time, but you’re at an even higher risk for developing plaque-related bad breath while you have braces if you don’t brush properly. 


Think about it: with all those brackets and wires in your mouth, there’s a lot more surface area for cavity-causing bacteria to hide. Leftover sugar and acid can cause this bacteria to eat away at your teeth, causing cavities that can be a hassle to fix during treatment. 

White Spots

The main reason you’re getting braces is to have a perfect pearly white smile when we remove them – but if you don’t brush your teeth properly, you could develop white spots, also known as decalcification. These spots can form around the bracket, making it clear that you had brackets on your teeth during treatment, or they could simply make the coloring of your teeth appear uneven. 

Treatment Time

Here’s the worst-case scenario of all: not taking care of your oral hygiene could mean you have to wear braces for longer than you originally thought! Because oral hygiene issues like cavities could require us to temporarily remove brackets and wires while your dentist corrects the problem, we’ll have to add time to the back end of your journey to make up for it – and that’s no fun at all! 

Your Guide to Brushing with Braces

Orbach Orthodontics: Your New Smile Starts Here

Even though it might be stressful to think about the negative effects of not brushing with braces, you don’t have to worry about a thing! As long as you stick to our tips for healthy brushing, you’ll get the straight, happy smile of your dreams without a hitch. 

Have any questions about brushing with braces or taking care of your new smile? Our team is here to help. Call our office in Falls Church or Washington, D.C., and we’ll be on the case!