Veranda Dentistry Logo
Browse by Page
Connect on Social Media
New Patients Start Here
Choose Your Location
Right Arrow Icon

Brushing with Braces: Cleaning Every Nook & Cranny

Posted on June 27th, 2023

Des Moines dentist, Dr. Chad Johnson of Veranda Dentistry informs patients about the best tools and tricks to use when performing oral hygiene routines with braces.If braces are in your future, or you have just had them placed, you may be wondering just how the heck to work around them when flossing and brushing. We’d love to calm your mind by reminding you those wires and brackets are temporary visitors, hanging out to help correct the bite and achieve a smile anyone would feel confident flashing. 

Yes, there will be a learning curve while our favorite curve on your face is a work in progress, but Veranda Dentistry is confident in your abilities and wants to fill you in on just how important it is to be diligent in your oral hygiene routine—while going through orthodontic treatment, and afterward, too!

Bands, Brackets & Wires—Oh My!

The anatomy of your mouth is more complex than what we see with our eyes alone, while the anatomy of your braces is fairly simple (and visible, unlike the pulp, nerves, and roots of your teeth). This might lead you to believe your typical hygiene regimen won’t require much change. We hate to break it to you, but you may need to add some tools to your belt and skills to your resume. If it sounds intense, don’t worry! Most Des Moines patients—adults, kids, and pre-teens alike become pros in no time. 

Your Trusty Techniques & Tools

The basics will remain largely the same—a soft-bristled toothbrush and handy-dandy dental floss. A manual toothbrush will work, but you might prefer the ease of an electric or sonic toothbrush, which can maneuver itself around the hardware and withstand the wear a bit longer than their manual counterparts. You should be brushing gently already, but you’ll find it’s especially important with braces because brushing too hard can cause damage. 

Typically, Veranda Dentistry advises to hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush gently along the gumline in small circles. With braces, however, you’ll want to angle the bristles both upwards and downwards to be sure no food debris or plaque is left behind on the wire or brackets. You’ll still want to brush in small circles and spend 25-30 seconds on each bracket. If you notice stubborn particles after you’ve finished brushing, an interdental toothbrush can help you remove them.

Flawless Flossing

While the idea of flossing with so much in your way may seem tricky, once you nail the technique (we know you can do it!), you’ll see it doesn’t take much more time than flossing without braces. Waxed floss will be your best bet, as the unwaxed varieties are more likely to get caught and shred. 

A length of 18 inches should work well. Thread the floss under the main wire of the braces. If for any reason this proves too difficult (maybe your fingers are too large or you’ve got some shakiness), floss threaders can simplify the process! 

If you weren’t much of a flosser before braces and don’t think you’ll become a fan of the string method, water flossers (like the WaterPik®) are a great option, too. These have been proven to work just as well, but aren’t particularly convenient if you’re at work or school.

Mindful Eating

Remember that while the benefits of braces are numerous, the number of foods you should avoid while wearing them are, too. Braces are a tried and true way to get your teeth in proper alignment, but they’re not strong enough to endure hard, sticky, or crunchy foods. You also want to avoid nail biting or chewing on pens and pencils. Eating softer, enamel-friendly foods will protect your braces and your smile and make your hygiene routines easier to conduct!

Picture This

Visual reminders can be helpful if you’re feeling frustrated throughout your orthodontic treatment, whether it’s because of the dietary restrictions, the increased importance of your oral hygiene routine, the length of treatment, or the pain and discomfort that can come with your mouth’s structural changes. We want your post-braces smile to be 100% worth it, and being thorough is the best way to ensure you’ll be ready to proudly share your smile once you’ve crossed the finish line. We can’t wait to celebrate your new smile with you!

If you have any questions about oral hygiene routines while wearing braces, don’t hesitate to contact your Des Moines dentist, Dr. Chad Johnson at Veranda Dentistry today!

Accessibility Options

Accessibility On Our Website

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are recognized and acknowledged as the international standard measure of success. We regularly test our site to ensure we meet or exceed that standard and also consistently look for ways to improve the web site’s performance, speed, and accessibility.

We are committed to continuously improving access to our goods and services by individuals with disabilities. If you are unable to use any aspect of this website because of a disability, please call (515) 650-5531 and we will provide you with prompt personalized assistance.

If you have trouble seeing web pages, the US Social Security Administration offers these tips for optimizing your computer and browser to improve your online experience.

If you are looking for mouse and keyboard alternatives, speech recognition software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking may help you navigate web pages and online services. This software allows the user to move focus around a web page or application screen through voice controls.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, there are several accessibility features available to you.

Closed Captioning
Closed captioning provides a transcript for the audio track of a video presentation that is synchronized with the video and audio tracks. Captions are generally visually displayed over the video, which benefits people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and anyone who cannot hear the audio due to noisy environments. Most of our website’s video content includes automated captions. Learn how to turn captioning on and off in YouTube.

Volume Controls
Your computer, tablet, or mobile device has volume control features. Each video and audio service has its own additional volume controls. Try adjusting both your device’s volume controls and your media players’ volume controls to optimize your listening experience.