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Proper care to remove plaque and food particles is extremely important to help avoid cavities and gum disease. But, teeth with braces are even harder to keep clean – Food, plaque and germs can get trapped very easily.  That’s why you’re most important job is to keep your mouth as clean as possible.

If food and plaque is left lodged on the brackets and wires of your braces it can cause unsightly discoloration, cavities of the enamel and the symptoms of gum disease will show in your mouth. Not only do your gums swell and bleed, but the pressure from the disease slows down tooth movement as well as causing permanent damage to the gums and supporting bone.

In the sections that follow we’ll talk more about what you can do to help protect your teeth and gums while you’re wearing braces.

See Your Hygienist

When you have braces it’s much more difficult to keep your teeth clean. We recommend professional cleanings once every three months to help ensure a healthy mouth.

Brush After You Eat

Brush your teeth every time you eat! Usually you’ll want to brush about four to five times a day. We know that seems like a lot of cleaning, but your teeth and gums will thank you for it!

Have the Right Tools

There are at home cleaning helpers that make removing plaque and food from your braces and teeth much more effective. We discuss these in more detail below.


When your orthodontic treatment begins we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to properly care for your teeth, braces or any other appliances.

Correct cleaning of your mouth is necessary every time you eat and you should brush your teeth  about 4-5 times a day. So we want to take a moment to talk about the right way to brush your teeth.

1.Always use a soft toothbrush so you can “brush hard” with gentle results. If you hold your toothbrush under hot water for five seconds or so it will soften even more.

2.  Brush back and forth across and between the wires and gums on both your upper and lower teeth to loosen any food particles that might be stuck.

3. Next, brush normally as if you had no braces or appliances on. Start on the outside of the uppers with the bristles at a 45 degree angle toward the gum and scrub with a circular motion two or three teeth at a time using ten strokes. Next, do the same on the inner surface of the upper teeth. And then, go to the lower teeth and repeat the process.

Tip! If Your Gums Bleed When You Brush...
Tip! If Your Gums Bleed When You Brush...

If your gums bleed when you brush, it’s because they’re inflamed.  Don’t avoid brushing! Clean and stimulate the area with your toothbrush and after 3 or 4 days the bleeding should stop.  Don’t forget to angle your toothbrush so that the area under your gum line is cleaned



The Sonicare features superior cleaning technology with patented high-speed sonic technology. It improves gum health by reversing gingivitis and helping shrink periodontal pockets. Furthermore, it is clinically proven to significantly reduce coffee, tea and tobacco stains.

The Sonicare is our favorite for general use and is available for purchase at our office or over the internet.


For people with with braces or gum recession the Rotadent is our favorite. Each brush head has 4,577 MicroFilaments — Proprietary bristles that are 1/3 the width of traditional toothbrush bristles so they can get to areas that a standard bristle might miss — below the gumline and between teeth.

You can purchase the Rotadent toothbrush through our office or over the internet.


Home Irrigators

A home irrigator lets you spray water at your teeth, between the teeth and under the gum line to help flush out the plaque and bacteria so that your mouth can stay clean and healthy. This is a fast and super easy-to-use device that all people with braces should take advantage of.  Just add comfortably warm water and spray the teeth at the gum line from the outside and the inside. It just takes 3 minutes!

Our favorite home irragator is the Hydrofloss which is available for purchase at our office or over the internet. The HydroFloss works better than over-the-counter water picks because the HydroFloss places a static electricity charge on the water molecules. You can’t feel it, but this process, called magneto-hydro dynamics, can reduce plaque 80% more effectively than water spray alone.

Nylon Floss Threaders

Nylon floss threaders work like needle threaders to guide floss into hard-to-get-to places. These are absolutely great, but do take time and discipline to use regularly so if that doesn’t work for you then you will definitely want to use the HydroFloss home irrigator!


Home fluoride is prescription-strength fluoride for daily home use. It is TEN times stronger than fluoride toothpastes you can buy over the counter. It works to harden the enamel of adults and children age 12+ whose teeth have already grown in. In addition to helping prevent decay, it also helps to minimize gum-line sensitivity.

The product we recommend and dispense at Dental Care Orthodontics is prescription strength Take Home Care.

People who should use home fluoride are kids 12 and over and adults who have braces, a history of decay, many old fillings, have sensitive teeth, are planning to whiten their teeth or who want to take the extra step to help their mouth be as healthy as it could be.


There are two types of retainers, fixed and removable. If you have either kind follow our tips to keep everything clean and working  most efficiently.

Fixed Retainers

Fixed retainers are metal wires or chains that are bonded to the inside of front teeth to help hold them in right position. Fixed retainers can be on your top teeth, bottom teeth or both.

Clean around the fixed retainer by brushing carefully with toothpaste. Then use either dental floss on a floss threader to get between the teeth or the HydroFloss irrigator.

It’s also very important that you check to see if anything appears loose or broken. If that happens you’ll want to talk to use right away so that we can repair it before there is any shifting to your teeth.


Removable Retainers

The best way to keep your removable retainer clean and free of smelly bacteria is to rinse it frequently with plain water and every day or two place it in an ultrasonic cleaner with a cleaning tablet for 5 minutes. You can get them at our office, at a big drug store or on the internet.

Always bring your retainers to each appointment. Avoid flipping the retainer with your tongue since this can damage your teeth. Also place the retainer in the plastic case when it’s not in your mouth – No wrapping it in a napkin or putting it in your pocket or you may end up losing or breaking it.

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