Oral Hygiene

Stay on Track with Oral Hygiene by Brushing Your Teeth Routinely

Caring for your teeth while in orthodontic treatment is critical to maintaining oral health.

While in braces or clear aligners, it is essential to brush your teeth after every meal for 2 minutes to ensure food and bacteria do not build up around your brackets and appliances or stay trapped underneath your clear aligners throughout the day.

While brushing, start with the outside of the teeth and brush at a 45-degree angle using gentle, circular vibrating motions. Be sure to clean the area between the gums and braces by angling the brush, then brush the biting surface of the teeth, followed by the inside of the teeth. Always keep your regularly scheduled cleanings and exams with your dentist to identify and resolve any potential cavities or periodontal issues.

Teeth need to be healthy and strong while being moved within the mouth!

Make Sure to Floss at Least Twice a Day

Flossing while in braces or clear aligners is an absolute must! It is much easier for food to get trapped between brackets and teeth while in treatment. We recommend flossing twice a day–in the morning and at night before bed. Using tools like a floss threader makes it much easier to thread the floss through the wires. Once in place, gently pull the floss between the teeth, moving it up and down the sides of both teeth and under the gums. Pull the floss out and use a fresh section each time you floss a new area. In addition to flossing, a Waterpik flosser is an excellent tool to help keep your teeth squeaky clean.

Keep Your Retainer Pristine with Daily Upkeep

Retainers are made to be worn for a specific amount of time after completing your orthodontic treatment. They help to “retain” or keep your new smile in position without the help of your braces or clear aligners. Like our teeth, retainers must also be cleaned regularly to prevent food particles and plaque from building up over time.

Once a day, you should soak your retainer in a glass of room-temperature tap water with a cleaning tablet, such as Polident or Efferdent. This will help prevent plaque build-up and oral infections and keep your retainer tasting better. Do not use hot water, as this can distort the appliance.

What Foods Should You Avoid Eating with An Orthodontic Appliance?

Feeling some discomfort after first receiving your orthodontic appliances is normal in the first few days of treatment. That’s why we recommend sticking to a soft food diet until the soreness subsides.

While in braces, you can still eat most foods, but there are certain items to avoid, so your wires or brackets do not break. Avoid hard foods like pizza crust or ice and sticky foods, including licorice, gum, or caramels. Be sure to cut up food into smaller pieces rather than biting directly into them and tearing them with your front teeth.

It is also important to minimize foods high in sugar content, like ice cream and cookies, and reduce sugary drinks to once a day. Remember that frequently drinking sugary drinks or coffee without mindful brushing can stain your teeth during orthodontic treatment.

More examples of foods to avoid:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Pretzels
  • Chips
  • Corn on the cob
  • Crunchy vegetables or fruits

If you have an issue with your orthodontic appliance, please visit our Quick Fix page for a fast solution.