When you have braces on teeth, your teeth need extra attention and protection from decay and gum disease. You should also take precautions to avoid damaging the braces. For example, activities to avoid include eating chewy or sticky sweets, eating hard or crunchy foods, biting your lip, breathing excessively through your mouth and pushing your tongue against your teeth.
Brushing your teeth twice a day is the standard oral care recommendation; however, when you wear braces, you should brush after every time you eat — even after that mid-afternoon vending machine snack or some late-night munchies. That’s because food particles easily become trapped in the braces, and the longer those particles stay trapped, the greater risk you have of developing dental problems. Use a soft toothbrush with round bristles, or an electric toothbrush if you prefer.
Start by rinsing your mouth with water to loosen the food stuck in and around your braces. It’s important to brush each tooth at the gum line and both above and below the brackets. Brush your gum line first, holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Then clean the brackets by brushing at a downward angle on top of the brackets and brushing at an upward angle at the bottom of the brackets. Using interdental (Tepe) brushes if helpful. Rinse again after brushing.
Other Cleaning Methods
Floss at least once a day where you can, making sure you floss not only between the braces but also under the wires. To more easily floss under the wires, use a floss threader or orthodontic flosser.