Oral Hygiene With Braces

Good Oral Hygiene – It's More Important Than Ever When You Wear Braces

Good oral hygiene is always important, but it's especially important when you wear braces or other appliances. That's because food particles and plaque (a sticky, colorless film) can get trapped in the tiny spaces between your brackets, bands and wires.

Without proper brushing and flossing, plaque can build up on your teeth – and your braces, retainers or other appliances. Plaque is a great place for bacteria to live. Plaque build-up can cause:
  • Tooth decay
  • Enamel stains
  • Gum disease
  • Foul-smelling breath
How Often Should Teeth (Braces and Other Appliances) Be Cleaned?
  • Brush your teeth (braces, other appliances or retainers) after every meal and snack, and before you go to bed
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Vigorously swish your mouth with warm water when you can't brush or chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes to help remove food particles and reduce bacteria
  • Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups

Demineralization: Watch Out For White Spots!

Demineralization (white spots on your teeth) happens when acids from plaque attach the tooth surface, leaving small holes in the enamel and changing the way it reflects light, forming chalky white scars. These white spots can:
  • Outline the area where braces once were
  • Appear anytime throughout treatment – sometimes less than a month after treatment
  • Be very sensitive
  • Lead to cavities
Braces themselves do not cause demineralization or staining, but anyone who doesn't properly care for their teeth may end up with white scars
Toothpaste & Mouthwash
Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash that help kill germs in the spaces around your brackets and bands, and between your teeth.

If you have any questions about your oral hygiene, please call our office at (303) 421-9814 or speak with one of our friendly staff members at your next visit.

Be sure to follow the instructions we provide for brushing and flossing and steer clear of restricted foods, so you can stay on track with your treatment! In the meantime, follow these tips:

Brushing Tips:
  • Rinse your mouth with water before brushing to loosen food particles
  • Brush after every meal and snack (keep toothbrush/toothpaste on hand at school and work) and before you go to bed
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush
  • Brush for at least 10 seconds on each tooth
  • Use an interdental toothbrush or a proxabrush to reach spaces between each bracket
  • Remember to gently brush your tongue, too!
Flossing Tips:
  • Floss at least once a day, preferably at night
  • Use a tool called a floss threader and waxed floss to help
  • Thread about 18 inches of floss into the threader or special orthodontic floss
  • Carefully pull waxed floss between wire and braces
  • Floss carefully around the braces
  • Floss carefully around the gum area
  • Floss around each tooth
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