Guide to Brushing and Caring for Your Teeth when Wearing Braces

A lot of people choose to wear braces to achieve a beautiful, healthy, and straight smile. Once teeth are straightened by braces, it will be easier to reach plaque on and between the teeth. However, while wearing braces, food particles and plaque have additional places where they can accumulate and become trapped. This makes it challenging to keep the teeth clean and healthy while sporting wires, brackets, and other bits and pieces on your teeth. That is why the question is, how do you keep your teeth clean and care for them if you have braces?

It can take a little practice to brush your teeth when you have braces. You need to be prepared to spend about thrice as long on your oral care when you have braces on your teeth. But you don’t have to worry because it is worth the time. Also, if you do not pay attention to your oral hygiene while your teeth are being realigned, you are increasing your chance of acquiring gum disease. Brushing and caring for your teeth when you have braces may also help your teeth look much better when it is finally time to get the braces removed.

If you are thinking of getting braces for your teeth but also wondering how you can keep your teeth clean and maintained, we are here to help you. In this post, we are giving you a guide to brushing and caring for your teeth when wearing braces. 

How to Brush Teeth When You Have Braces

woman with braces brushing her teeth

Maintaining good oral hygiene is among the most important parts of determining the overall prognosis of an orthodontic treatment like braces. When food particles are trapped in braces or brackets, they accumulate plaques and accelerate the attack on the teeth by oral microorganisms, which may result in dental complications like caries.

Brushing the teeth thoroughly can help remove plaque. However, any spot that is missed will turn into tartar or calculus, which is a hard, yellow material that stains the teeth and can only be removed by a dental professional. Unfortunately, wearing braces makes it challenging for some to remove plaque and food particles, as they can hide in a lot of places. But that does not mean you should give up.

If you wear braces, you need to take a bit of extra care to ensure that you maintain the cleanliness of your teeth every day. Below are some of the best tips when it comes to brushing your teeth when you have braces: [1]

Make Toothbrushing a Routine

For people who wear braces, it is easier to miss plaque buildup on the teeth. Therefore, it is important that you brush your teeth after every meal to lessen the probability that plaque and leftover food particles will have a chance to remain long enough to cause any issues. In fact, a lot of people who value their teeth choose to brush even after snacks.

Choose the Right Tools

There are only a few things that you need in order to keep your teeth clean when you are wearing braces. These include a toothbrush and toothpaste. You don’t necessarily need to buy an electric toothbrush when you wear braces. In fact, any toothbrush that has soft round bristles will work well. However, if you prefer to use an electric toothbrush, choose one that has a round oscillating head.

When it comes to choosing toothpaste, it is better to pick one that contains fluoride above 1000 ppm. It’s because fluoride helps prevent cavities by strengthening the enamel surface and inhibits the growth of plaque bacteria. If you are suffering from sensitive teeth or gums, choosing toothpaste that has extra desensitizing ingredients is important.

In addition to toothbrushes and toothpaste, it is also better if you have a cup, floss, proxabrushes or interdental brushes, mouthwash, and a mirror.

Begin with a Swish

After getting your tools, fill the cup with water and rinse your mouth. Swish a bit of water around the interior of your mouth before you begin brushing your teeth. Doing this will help loosen food particles and other debris, which makes it easier to remove them. After that, remove any elastics, bands, or removable orthodontic pieces and set them aside in a safe place.

Determine the Angles

Rinse your toothbrush and top it with a small amount of nonabrasive toothpaste. Begin brushing your teeth by holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brushing along the gum line. After that, change the angle of the toothbrush in order to carefully brush the tops of the brackets. Then, reposition the toothbrush to angle up in order to brush under the wire and brackets. You need to make sure that you clean each tooth. After that, brush the chewing and inner surfaces of the teeth.

Take Your Time

If you wear braces, it is important that you take your time and brush all the necessary surfaces of your teeth and braces thoroughly. According to experts, you need to spend a minimum of two minutes when it comes to brushing your teeth. But it may also take longer, particularly if you are still getting in the habit of toothbrushing with braces. Also, if you find it difficult to reach all the surfaces of your teeth because of the wires and brackets, you can try using a proxabrush or interdental brush after your regular brushing routine. It will help you clean under and around the braces.

Floss Your Teeth

It can be pretty challenging to floss your teeth when there are brackets and wires attached to them. However, it is still an important part of any dental hygiene routine. If you are utilizing string floss, you can opt for a floss threader to maneuver the floss around the braces. Make sure that you are gentle as you move the floss against your gums and teeth. If you find this hard, then you can alternatively utilize a water flosser in order to get the tight spots in between your teeth clean.

Rinse Again

When you finish brushing and flossing, you should rinse your mouth using an antibacterial mouthwash. Doing this will help eliminate germs, remove any lingering food particles, and freshen your breath.

Check Your Teeth in the Mirror

Before you decide that you are done brushing your teeth, you should take a few minutes to look in a mirror and check your work. This will allow you to evaluate your efforts and see if you need to refine your routine. If you are satisfied with the result, replace any elastics, bands, or removable orthodontic appliances and return all of your tools to their proper storage.

Other Ways to Care for Your Teeth When You Have Braces

person with braces taking a bite on an apple

Brushing your teeth and flossing them properly is among the best ways to maintain healthy teeth and gums even when wearing braces. But aside from those, there are also other ways that you need to take good care of your teeth when you wear braces. Below are some of them:

Know What Foods to Avoid

Chewing hard foods may lead to the breakage of braces. When the braces stop adhering to the tooth surface, they may become loose and will no longer serve the desired function. Generally, for those who are wearing braces, soft foods are preferred over hard and crunchy foods. Below are some of the foods that you need to avoid to care for your teeth when wearing braces: [2]

Hard Foods: As much as possible, try to avoid eating foods that need effort to bite into, like apples, nuts, bagels, and hard rolls. If you want to eat them, it is a good idea to cut them into smaller pieces first.

Sticky Foods: You also need to avoid foods that stick to the surface of the teeth, as they may stick for a long period. Some examples of sticky foods that should be avoided are chewing gums, caramels, and candies.

Sugary and Processed Foods: Sugary drinks and foods like candies should be avoided when wearing braces as these can promote demineralization and may lead to subsequent tooth caries.

Crunchy Foods: Foods like popcorn should be avoided completely when wearing braces, as the force used to chew them inside the mouth may lead to the breakage of the braces. 

Plan Regular Checkups

dentist checking the teeth of a patient wearing braces

Aside from brushing your teeth, flossing, and avoiding specific foods and drinks, it is also very important to plan regular dental visits if you are aiming to take good care of your teeth while wearing braces. Your dentist is the one that can repair broken pieces, answer general questions, and address any irregularities like cavities or every meal or snack that you can have if you wear braces. Your dentist may also recommend you the best products that you can use to help control plaque buildup in tough-to-reach areas in your mouth. [3]


Knowing how to brush your teeth properly when wearing braces is very important if you want to prevent the buildup of tartar, stains, and cavities. In addition to that, it is also essential to protect your braces against any external damage, as doing this will also help protect your teeth from any damage or issue. A regular follow-up with a dentist is also great to ensure professional cleaning and get the most appropriate care for your teeth with braces. We hope this post helped you learn more about brushing and caring for your teeth when wearing braces.


[1] Duff Family Dental. (2017, June 30). How to brush your teeth with braces. Duff Family Dental. Retrieved March 10, 2023, from

[2] Sahi, D. A. (2018, November 27). Taking care of your teeth with braces. News. Retrieved March 10, 2023, from

[3] Oral-B Site Editors. (2022). How to brush your teeth and Floss with braces. Oral-B. Retrieved March 10, 2023, from