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How to Brush and Floss Teeth with Braces

How to Brush and Floss Teeth with Braces

Many people who wear braces are concerned that they may become a source of tooth decay because they seem difficult to brush. To cover and protect your teeth, the brackets or full bands you wear must be kept firmly attached. The wires, brackets, and tubes seem to form a tiny shelf on the outside of your teeth, which creates a problem when you want to try cleaning the space between those attachments and your gums.

What You Should Know

Braces, springs, rubber bands, and other attachments you have tend to attract plaque and food, and your teeth will become stained if they are not removed. Orthodontists generally recommend brushing carefully with fluoride toothpaste whenever you eat something to remove any food particles that may be trapped in your braces. At times, they also prescribe or suggest using mouthwash that contains fluoride to do a more thorough job.

Flossing with Braces

Begin by feeding the dental floss into the space between the top portion of the tooth near the gum and the main arch wire. Work the floss with a light sawing motion on both sides of the teeth, and avoid pulling near the arch wire too forcefully. Using a soft tooth brush, brush down and then up between the braces. Follow this by brushing your teeth with a “proxabrush,” which is specifically designed for this purpose, in the same manner. Use several up-and-down strokes to ensure that all of you teeth have been thoroughly cleaned.

Food You Should Avoid

Generally speaking, you will know instinctively what foods are incompatible with braces-including those that have a high sugar content, and those that are sticky or hard. Still, a day might come when you feel deprived and are tempted to eat something harmful “just this once.” Avoid falling into that trap if you want to avoid tooth decay and other dental problems as well.



“Dr. Wright’s diagram of tooth decay on teeth with braces.” Oracle ThinkQuest Library . N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Aug. 2010.

“Braces and Retainers: Tooth Care and Cleaning.” WebMD – Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Aug. 2010.

“Foods to Avoid with Braces | Dr. Ross J. Miller Orthodontist Sunnyvale, CA :: Orthodontics for Children and Adults in California.” Orthodontist Sunnyvale, CA | Dr. Ross J. Miller : Orthodontics for Children and Adults in California. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Aug. 2010.


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