How to Care for Your Braces: Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene

Proper care of braces is essential for achieving the best results in orthodontic treatment. While braces work to straighten your teeth, maintaining excellent oral hygiene is crucial to prevent dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, and staining. This article provides comprehensive tips for caring for your braces and keeping your teeth and gums healthy throughout your orthodontic journey.

Why Oral Hygiene Is Important with Braces

Braces create small spaces around your teeth that can trap food particles and make it more challenging to clean your teeth effectively. If not properly cleaned, these areas can lead to plaque buildup, which causes cavities and gum disease. Additionally, maintaining good oral hygiene helps ensure that your teeth remain strong and healthy, allowing your braces to work more effectively.

Daily Oral Hygiene Routine for Braces


  • Frequency: Brush your teeth after every meal and before bed. Aim for at least four times a day.
  • Technique: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Angle the brush at 45 degrees to the gum line and use small circular motions to clean each tooth. Pay special attention to the areas around the brackets and wires.
  • Electric Toothbrushes: Consider using an electric toothbrush with an orthodontic head, which can be more effective at cleaning around braces.


  • Frequency: Floss at least once a day.
  • Technique: Use a floss threader to guide the floss under the wires of your braces. Gently floss between your teeth, being careful not to damage the wires or brackets.
  • Alternatives: Interdental brushes or water flossers can also be effective for cleaning between teeth and around braces.


  • Mouthwash: Use an antimicrobial or fluoride mouthwash daily to reduce plaque and strengthen enamel. Swish the mouthwash around your mouth for at least 30 seconds before spitting it out.
  • Saltwater Rinse: A saltwater rinse can help soothe any irritation caused by braces. Mix one teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water and rinse for 30 seconds.

Tips for Eating with Braces

  1. Avoid Hard Foods: Foods like nuts, hard candies, and ice can damage your braces. Stick to softer alternatives.
  2. Cut Up Hard Fruits and Vegetables: Apples, carrots, and other hard produce should be cut into smaller pieces to make them easier to eat without putting too much pressure on your braces.
  3. Avoid Sticky Foods: Caramel, chewing gum, and other sticky foods can get caught in your braces and are difficult to clean off.
  4. Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks: Sugary foods and beverages can increase the risk of cavities. If you consume sugary items, brush your teeth afterward.

Managing Discomfort with Braces

  1. Orthodontic Wax: Use orthodontic wax to cover any brackets or wires that are causing irritation to the inside of your mouth. Roll a small piece of wax into a ball and place it over the irritating part of your braces.
  2. Over-the-Counter Pain Relief: If you experience discomfort after getting your braces adjusted, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can help alleviate the pain.
  3. Warm Saltwater Rinse: Rinsing with warm salt water can soothe sore gums and cheeks.

Handling Orthodontic Emergencies

  1. Loose Brackets or Bands: If a bracket or band becomes loose, call your orthodontist to schedule a repair appointment. In the meantime, use orthodontic wax to secure it and prevent irritation.
  2. Poking Wires: If a wire is poking and causing discomfort, use a pencil eraser or a cotton swab to push it back into place. If you cannot adjust it, cover the wire with orthodontic wax until you can see your orthodontist.
  3. Broken Wires: If a wire breaks, avoid cutting it yourself to prevent injury. Call your orthodontist for guidance.

Regular Orthodontic Visits

  1. Adjustment Appointments: Attend all scheduled orthodontic appointments for adjustments and monitoring of your treatment progress. These visits are essential for ensuring that your braces are working correctly and making necessary adjustments.
  2. Professional Cleanings: Continue regular visits to your family dentist for professional cleanings and check-ups. Your dentist will help maintain your oral health by monitoring for cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues.

Additional Tips for Braces Care

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps wash away food particles and reduces the risk of dry mouth, which can lead to plaque buildup.
  2. Use Fluoride Products: Incorporate fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash into your daily routine to strengthen your enamel and protect against cavities.
  3. Avoid Nail Biting and Chewing on Objects: Habits like nail biting or chewing on pens and pencils can damage your braces and prolong treatment.


Caring for your braces is crucial to ensuring successful orthodontic treatment and maintaining good oral health. By following a thorough daily hygiene routine, making mindful food choices, managing discomfort, and attending regular orthodontic appointments, you can achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. Remember, the effort you put into caring for your braces will pay off with long-term benefits for your oral health and overall wellbeing.