Braces Maintenance Guide: Brushing, Flossing & Dental Care

Smiling man with braces wearing black jacket and hat with hands on head

As parents, we all want our kids to have healthy, happy smiles. And while braces play a crucial role in achieving that, they aren’t a set-and-forget orthodontic treatment.

Achieving the perfect smile requires proper braces maintenance. A good maintenance routine will prevent damage to the braces and the teeth underneath and prevent oral health problems associated with poor oral hygiene, all while making the braces more comfortable to wear. By mastering the art of braces maintenance, you can ensure your child’s braces treatment gets the desired results in the shortest time possible.

At AZ Family & Kids Dental, our mission is to help you, your children, and your whole family achieve a healthy smile. We understand that choosing an oral health provider is a significant decision which is why we’re committed to making that choice easy for you by offering a range of benefits designed to meet the diverse needs of our patients. 

In this article, we provide an easy step-by-step guide on mastering braces maintenance so you can relax knowing your child is well on their way to a happier and healthier smile. 

Step 1: Brushing with Braces

While brushing your teeth is always important for good oral health, it becomes even more crucial when you have dental braces.

Illustration of child brushing teeth with braces

Regular and thorough brushing removes food particles and plaque that can get stuck in braces, preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

When brushing with braces, you must first choose the right toothbrush and toothpaste.

When it comes to choosing a toothbrush for braces, it’s recommended to opt for a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. Soft bristles are gentle on the teeth and gums, while a small head makes reaching all the nooks and crannies around your braces easier. Electric toothbrushes are also popular, as they often come with features like oscillation, rotation, and pressure sensors, which can be beneficial for cleaning around braces. 

To prevent cavities, brush your teeth with a good fluoride toothpaste and avoid whitening toothpaste, as it can lead to an uneven coloration of the teeth after the braces are removed. Moreover, selecting braces-friendly snacks can significantly reduce the risk of damaging your braces and make oral hygiene maintenance easier. 

Here are some simple steps to follow when brushing with braces:

Rinse your mouth:

Start by rinsing your mouth with water to remove any food particles that may be lodged in or near your braces.

Brush at a 45-degree angle:

Make sure your toothbrush is pointing at a 45-degree angle towards your gum line. In this position, you can more easily clean the tooth surfaces, wires, and brackets.

Brush in a Circular motion:

When brushing your teeth, use a circular motion and little pressure to properly clean the wires and brackets. Spend at least 2-3 minutes each time to ensure thorough cleaning.

Don’t Forget your Gum and tongue:

Your tongue and gums should be brushed gently to eliminate bacteria and freshen your breath.

Brush after every meal:

You should aim to brush at least four times a day, especially after meals, and spend at least 2-3 minutes each time to ensure thorough cleaning. This will keep your braces and teeth clean and plaque-free.

Some common mistakes to avoid when brushing with braces include:

  1. Not brushing your braces: Brushing your braces is essential to prevent food, plaque, and bacteria buildup, which can lead to oral health issues.
  2. Using the wrong technique: In order to clean all surfaces of braces, a specific brushing technique must be used. Brush at a 45-degree angle and use a circular motion.
  3. Skipping flossing: Flossing is crucial for removing food and bacteria that may be trapped between the teeth and braces.
  4. Not brushing for long enough: In order to ensure effective cleaning, spend enough time brushing. Spend at least 2-3 minutes each time to ensure thorough cleaning.
  5. Using the wrong toothpaste: Use a good fluoride toothpaste and avoid whitening toothpaste when wearing braces.

Step 2: Flossing With Braces

We know the importance of brushing with braces, but why is it equally important to floss with braces?

Dental floss can reach areas between teeth and around brackets that traditional brushing alone may miss, preventing the buildup of plaque, food particles, and bacteria. If you floss regularly while having braces, it helps prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath, ensuring that the teeth and gums remain healthy throughout the orthodontic process.

Child with braces at orthodontist

Here’s how to take the pain out of flossing with braces.

It starts with the right floss. While traditional floss will do the job, choosing a braces floss that is easy to use and effectively removes food particles and plaque from around the braces is important. Waxed floss is a great choice as the wax makes it easier to slide the floss between teeth and glide against the surfaces, preventing shredding or getting caught on the braces.

  1. Floss with the right tools: Using an orthodontic flosser or floss threader can make flossing with braces much easier. Floss threaders make it easy to get floss between your teeth and under the wires.
  2. Try a floss threader: Using an orthodontic flosser or floss threader helps to create a stable base for maneuvering the floss around the braces or tight spaces between teeth.
  3. Slip and slide: Floss between your teeth and beneath the wires by gently slipping the floss between them. Gently slide the floss up and down to remove any debris trapped, ensuring you reach every tooth’s gum line.
  4. Repeat for every tooth: This step should be performed for every tooth, filling each space with fresh floss. Taking your time and being gentle will help you protect your braces.
  5. Floss daily: Aim to floss at least once every day. Ideally, you should floss after every meal or snack to ensure that no leftover plaque and food particles remain trapped between the teeth and braces.

Some common mistakes to avoid when flossing with braces include:

  1. Skipping flossing: The most common mistake is to skip flossing altogether. Flossing is essential for removing food particles and plaque trapped between the teeth and braces
  2. Flossing too vigorously: Using too much force when you floss can damage the braces or even break the brackets.
  3. Rushing the process: Flossing requires patience and precision, especially when navigating around the brackets and wires. Take your time and floss carefully.
  4. Not using the right flossing tools: Using tools such as a floss threader or orthodontic flosser can make the flossing process much easier and more effective.

Step 3: Scheduling Regular Dental and Orthodontic Visits

When you have braces, scheduling routine dental and orthodontic visits is crucial for ensuring their longevity and success.

Here’s why:

Regular orthodontic VISITs:

Regular visits to the orthodontist allow them to monitor the progress of your treatment and make any necessary adjustments to the braces. It’s also a great opportunity for patients to ask questions or get feedback on how their braces maintenance has been going.

Dental checkups:

It’s important to maintain regular dental visits during your orthodontic treatment. A crucial part of maintaining good oral hygiene, they allow dentists to perform professional cleanings, remove plaque and tartar buildup around braces, and monitor gum, root, and jaw health.

Step 4: How to Keep Your Braces Clean on the Go

Woman with braces in grey tank top laughing

When you’re busy and on the go, as most kids are, it’s easy for their braces maintenance routine to fall down the list of priorities. Luckily, a few simple things make cleaning your braces on the go quick and easy.

  1. Travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste: Carry a travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste with you to brush your teeth after meals or snacks.
  2. Floss and flossing tools: Keep floss or floss picks handy to remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth and around your braces.

By keeping these items with you, you can maintain good oral hygiene and keep your braces clean, even when you’re away from home.

Why Choose AZ Family & Kids Dental for braces?

If you want to get the best results possible from your braces, proper braces care is crucial. The good news is that a good maintenance routine doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or time. Simply focus on consistent brushing and flossing while maintaining regular dental/orthodontic checkups and you’ll have a signature, braces-free smile in no time!

At AZ Family & Kids Dental, we understand that choosing an orthodontic provider is a significant decision. We’re committed to making that choice easy for you by offering a range of benefits designed to meet the diverse needs of our patients. 

Our office is equipped with the latest technology, ensuring that you receive high-quality, efficient care. We believe that a comfortable environment enhances your treatment experience, which is why we have installed TVs on the ceiling in every room, allowing you to relax and enjoy your favorite shows during your visit.

If you are in Tempe or Avondale, choose AZ Family & Kids Dental for your braces and experience the difference that our patient-focused approach can make to your orthodontic journey. Schedule your appointment for a free consultation.