How Do You Brush Your Teeth With Braces? – A Complete Guide

June 27, 2024

Maintaining good oral hygiene is always important, but it becomes even more crucial when you have braces. With the added challenge of metal brackets and wires, keeping your teeth clean requires more effort and meticulous care.

So, how do you brush your teeth with braces? 

This is an obstacle that can lead to frustration and, if not addressed properly, to more serious dental issues such as cavities, gum inflammation, and even decalcification of the teeth.

We are here to provide you with a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to brush your teeth effectively with braces. 

Read on to find out the best tips! 

Why is Oral Hygiene Crucial with Braces?

Now, you may wonder why oral hygiene is so crucial when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment and what is the importance of learning how to brush your teeth with braces?

Braces create additional surfaces in your mouth where food particles and plaque can accumulate. The brackets, wires, and bands used in orthodontic treatment provide numerous hiding spots for plaque, a sticky film of bacteria. 

If not removed regularly, plaque can lead to the formation of tartar, which is harder to remove and can cause cavities. The metal components of braces make it more challenging to clean your teeth thoroughly, increasing the risk of decay.

What Happens if You Don't Know How to Brush Your Teeth with Braces?

Poor oral hygiene with braces can lead to gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and bleeding gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease that can damage the soft tissue and bone supporting your teeth. 

Additionally, tooth decay can occur when plaque remains on the teeth for too long, leading to cavities and potentially even root canals or extractions. Maintaining proper oral hygiene helps prevent these issues, ensuring your teeth and gums stay healthy.

How Do You Brush Your Teeth with Braces?

Gather Your Tools

Gather the tools you need to brush your teeth with braces. 

  • An orthodontic toothbrush or electric toothbrush
  • Interdental brush
  • Non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Floss threaders and orthodontic floss
  • Water flosser (optional)

Rinse Your Mouth

Rinsing your mouth with water before brushing helps to dislodge and loosen any food particles and debris that may be stuck around your braces.

Take a small sip of water and swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds, focusing on areas around the brackets and wires. Spit the water out into the sink.

Brush at a 45-degree Angle

Hold your toothbrush so that the bristles are angled at 45 degrees towards your gumline. This angle allows the bristles to reach under the gums, where plaque tends to build up.

Gently move the toothbrush in small, circular motions along the gumline, making sure to brush both the gums and the area where the gums meet the teeth. This helps to remove plaque effectively and prevent gum disease.

Clean Each Bracket

Angle your toothbrush downwards and gently brush the top parts of the brackets using small, circular motions. This helps to remove food particles and plaque that can accumulate above the brackets.

Change the angle of your toothbrush upwards and brush the bottom parts of the brackets using the same circular motion. Ensure you thoroughly cover each bracket's sides to maintain cleanliness and prevent decay.

Brush the Outer, Inner, & Chewing Surfaces

Brush the outer surfaces of your teeth (the side that faces your cheeks and lips) using a back-and-forth motion. Spend 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth (upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left).

Tilt your toothbrush vertically behind the front teeth and use up-and-down strokes to clean the inner surfaces. For other inner surfaces, use a back-and-forth motion. Brush the chewing surfaces of your molars using a gentle scrubbing motion to remove any food particles stuck in the grooves of your teeth.

Use an Interdental Brush

An interdental brush is designed to clean between the brackets and wires where a regular toothbrush might not reach.

Carefully insert the interdental brush between the wires and brackets. Move it gently back and forth to remove any trapped food particles and plaque. This helps to ensure thorough cleaning around your braces.

Rinse & Spit

Rinsing your mouth after brushing helps to wash away any remaining toothpaste, food particles, and debris, leaving your mouth clean and fresh.

Rinse your mouth with water or an antimicrobial mouthwash for about 30 seconds. Swish it around to reach all areas of your mouth, then spit it out into the sink.

Additional Oral Hygiene Tips

Along with brushing effectively, here are some essential tips to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment.


Flossing is crucial for removing plaque and food particles between teeth and under the gumline, areas that a toothbrush can't reach. With braces, this task becomes more challenging but no less important.

You can either use orthodontic floss or a water flosser to clean your teeth thoroughly when you have braces.

Use Mouthwash

Mouthwash can help reduce bacteria, freshen breath, and reach areas that brushing and flossing might miss. Look for an antimicrobial or fluoride mouthwash. Antimicrobial mouthwashes help reduce bacteria and prevent gum disease, while fluoride mouthwashes strengthen enamel and prevent cavities.

After brushing and flossing, swish the mouthwash around your mouth for 30 seconds, making sure to cover all areas. Spit it out and avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes to allow the ingredients to work effectively.

Regular Dental Check-Ups

Regular visits to your dentist and orthodontist are crucial for maintaining oral health and ensuring your braces are in good condition. Schedule cleanings and check-ups every six months or as recommended by your dentist. Orthodontic appointments may be more frequent, depending on your treatment plan.

Your dentist can spot potential issues early and provide specific advice for maintaining hygiene with braces. Professional cleanings can also remove tartar buildup that can't be removed by regular brushing and flossing.

Follow Dietary Recommendations


  • Sticky and chewy foods like caramel, gum, and gummy candies that can get stuck in braces and become hard to clean. 
  • Hard foods like nuts, popcorn, and hard candies that can break or damage braces.
  • Consumption of sugary snacks and beverages to prevent cavities.


  • Soft fruits and vegetables like apples (cut into small pieces), bananas, and steamed vegetables that are easier to chew.
  • Yogurt, cheese, and milk which are great for your teeth and easy to eat with braces.
  • Soft meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and tofu 
  • Make sure to cut your food into smaller pieces to make chewing easier and reduce the risk of damaging your braces. Avoid biting into hard foods directly; use a knife and fork instead.

Common Mistakes People Make While Brushing Teeth with Braces

Brushing Too Hard & Damaging the Braces

Brushing your teeth too vigorously can cause damage to the brackets and wires of your braces, and is a major no when learning how do you brush your teeth with braces. Brushing too hard can lead to broken brackets, bent wires, and a need for additional orthodontic visits for repairs.

Neglecting to Clean Around the Brackets & Wires

Failing to thoroughly clean around the brackets and wires can lead to plaque buildup, which increases the risk of cavities, gum disease, and decalcification of the teeth.

Skipping Flossing

Flossing with braces can be more challenging, leading some people to skip this crucial step.

Not Replacing Worn-Out Toothbrushes or Brush Heads

Using a worn-out toothbrush or brush head can be ineffective at removing plaque and debris. Bristles that are frayed or splayed won't clean as effectively and might even cause irritation or damage to gums and braces.


Brushing your teeth with braces may require extra effort and attention to detail, but it is essential for maintaining optimal oral health during your orthodontic treatment. 

Adopting oral hygiene practices not only keeps your mouth healthy but also contributes to the success of your orthodontic treatment, leading to a beautiful, well-aligned smile once your braces are removed. Regular dental check-ups and a balanced diet are also crucial components of maintaining excellent oral hygiene with braces. 

With patience, consistency, and the right approach, you can navigate the challenges of brushing with braces and enjoy the long-term benefits of a healthy, radiant smile.

Schedule a consultation with Innovative Dental & Orthodontics to learn more about "How do you brush your teeth with braces?"


Brushing your teeth with braces can be more challenging compared to brushing without braces due to the presence of brackets, wires, and bands. However, with proper techniques and the right tools, and knowing how do you brush your teeth with braces, you can clean them properly.
Neglecting to brush your teeth properly when you have braces can lead to oral health problems like plaque buildup, gum inflammation, bad breath, and white spots.
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