Keeping Your Braces Clean: A Step-by-Step Guide

Keeping Your Braces Clean: A Step-by-Step Guide

May 1, 2023

Braces are a fantastic tool for shaping a perfect smile, but they come with the responsibility of keeping them clean. Properly cleaning braces is important for preventing cavities, gum disease, and for ensuring that the braces do their job effectively.

At Waterdown Smiles Dentistry, we are present for every step of our patients’ smile transformation journeys. From finding the right kind of braces to getting our patients set up, and of course to maintaining their braces in the long term.

That’s why in this post we’re discussing how to keep braces clean. We’ll start by explaining some brushing and flossing techniques. Then we’ll move to listing some foods that you should avoid while wearing braces. Finally, we will leave you with additional tips on maintaining good oral hygiene.

Brushing Techniques for Braces

Brushing with braces requires a little extra effort than regular brushing. It’s important to brush after every meal to remove any food particles and bacteria that can get stuck in the brackets and wires. Here’s how to brush with braces:

  1. Rinse your mouth with water to remove any loose food particles.
  2. Use a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste to gently brush along the gum line, using circular motions.
  3. Angle the brush downwards to clean the upper teeth and upwards to clean the lower teeth.
  4. Brush each tooth individually, making sure to clean the front, back, and chewing surfaces.
  5. Pay extra attention to the brackets and wires by brushing gently and thoroughly around them.
  6. Finish by brushing your tongue to remove any bacteria.

Brushing with braces should take at least two minutes. Additionally, you should brush your teeth at least two, if not three, times a day. Remember to replace your toothbrush every three months, or as soon as the bristles start to fray.

Flossing Techniques for Braces

Flossing is equally important to brushing when it comes to keeping braces clean. Flossing can help remove food particles and plaque that brushing alone can miss. Here’s how to floss with braces:

  1. Use waxed floss or a floss threader to thread the floss under the wire of your braces.
  2. Gently move the floss back and forth between your teeth and around the brackets.
  3. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or pull the wire out of place.
  4. Use a clean section of floss for each tooth.

You should be flossing at least once a day, especially if you wear braces. If you find it difficult to floss, you can try using a water flosser to flush out any food particles and plaque.

Foods to Avoid with Braces

Certain foods can damage braces or get stuck in the brackets and wires, making them difficult to clean. Here are some foods to avoid when you have braces:

  1. Hard and crunchy foods such as nuts, popcorn, and hard candy can damage the brackets and wires.
  2. Sticky and chewy items such as caramel, taffy, and gum can get stuck in the brackets and wires, making them very difficult to clean.
  3. Sugary and acidic snacks such as soda, sports drinks, and candy can increase the risk of cavities and enamel erosion.

It’s important to do your best to avoid these foods while you have braces to ensure that your treatment progresses smoothly and your teeth stay healthy.

Additional Tips for Keeping Braces Clean

In addition to brushing, flossing, and avoiding certain foods, there are some extra steps you can follow to maintain good oral hygiene with braces:

Use an Interdental Brush to Clean Between the Brackets and Wires:

Using an interdental brush can be a great way to clean those hard-to-reach places between your braces. These small, cone-shaped, brushes are designed to fit between the brackets and wires of your braces, helping to remove food particles and plaque that can build up in these areas.

Woman using interdental brush to clean braces.

Use a Mouthwash to Kill Bacteria and Freshen Your Breath:

Mouthwash can be an effective way to kill bacteria and freshen your breath while wearing braces. Look for a mouthwash that is specifically designed for use with braces, as these products are usually gentler on your teeth and won’t damage your braces. Be sure to use your mouthwash as directed, and swish it around your mouth for at least 30 seconds before spitting it out.

Wear a Mouthguard While Playing Sports to Protect Your Braces From Damage:

If you play sports, it’s important to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and braces from damage. Mouthguards absorb the shock of impact and help prevent injury to your teeth, gums, and mouth. There are different types of mouthguards, so be sure to choose one that fits your braces.

Visit Your Orthodontist Regularly for Check-Ups and Adjustments:

Regular visits to your orthodontist are crucial for ensuring that your braces are working as they should and that your teeth are moving into their correct positions. During these visits, your orthodontist will check your progress, make any necessary adjustments to your braces, and provide you with advice on how to maintain good oral hygiene. Be sure to attend all of your appointments and follow your orthodontist’s recommendations to achieve the best possible results from your treatment.


Keeping your braces clean is essential for maintaining good oral hygiene and ensuring that your treatment progresses smoothly. If you have any questions or concerns about caring for your braces, don’t hesitate to contact Waterdown Smiles Dentistry. Our team is here to help you maintain good oral hygiene and achieve the best possible results from your treatment.

Thank you for reading, and remember to keep brushing, flossing, and maintaining good oral hygiene and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your best smile!