Brushing teeth with braces may seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually not hard at all. Once you learn how to get around the metal wires, brushing and flossing is a breeze! Read on to learn how to clean teeth with metal braces.
Note: If you have Invisalign or other clear aligners, check out our guide for How to Brush with Invisible Braces.
Basic Brushing with Metal Braces
Metal braces often come in unique configurations, so not every approach is exactly the same. You may need to modify the basics to fit your smile. These steps should give you a solid foundation to build on:
- Rinse your toothbrush and apply a small amount of toothpaste to the bristles.
- Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle and brush along the tops and bottoms of your teeth. Gently move in circles, making sure to reach the gums and along the top/bottom of the braces brackets.
- Brush the backs of your teeth and your tongue. In total, it should take at least two minutes to brush your teeth thoroughly.
- Floss and use an interdental brush to get behind the wires. This is a special brush designed specifically for in between braces brackets. Follow the flossing guide in the next section for details on how to floss with braces.
- Rinse your mouth, if desired.
If there is an area of your smile you’re having trouble cleaning, talk to your orthodontist about your options.
How to Floss with Metal Braces
Most braces wearers find it easiest to floss with Superfloss. This is a product specially designed for flossing with braces. One end of the floss is stiff, making it easy to guide between wires. Simply guide the floss through the wire, then pull it through to the back so that it glides between your teeth. Wiggle the floss around your teeth and gums, then pull it out.
If you do not want to use Superfloss, you can use a floss threader to get floss between braces. Tie a piece of regular floss to the threader, and then use the threader to guide between teeth.
You may also use a plastic flosser with braces, which would require no threading at all. The floss sits between two prongs and is tight enough to pull food out. Not all plastic flossers will work for this though. You’ll need ones designed to go under braces wires. This can get expensive over time, but flossers are the most convenient options overall.
Pro Teeth Brushing Tips for Metal Braces
Now that you know the basics of brushing teeth with metal braces, here are some additional tips to keep your teeth clean.
- Avoid eating foods that get caught in your braces. This may include soft bread, stringy meat, sticky candy, or anything else that will be difficult to clean later on.
- Rinse between teeth brushings. You should brush at least twice a day and floss at least once, but in between those times, you can swish with mouthwash or water.
- Continue getting routine teeth cleanings. Having braces shouldn’t stop you from getting your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year.
- Be mindful of what you eat after a braces tightening. Your teeth will likely be sensitive for the first day or two after getting your braces tightened. Avoid foods that are difficult to eat or will require extensive brushing time.
- Use a water flosser for difficult-to-reach places. This shoots a stream of water into your mouth to “power wash” food particles away. The brand Waterpik is the most well-known water floss manufacturer, but there are other products you can explore.
- If you have any cleaning concerns, talk to your orthodontist about personalized options. Clinton Dental Center provides comprehensive oral healthcare for clients of all ages, and we love empowering our patients with education. Reach out to (586) 949-5363 for more information about braces care.