A girl getting her braces checked out

How to Brush Your Teeth With Braces

Brushing and flossing go a long way in keeping your smile healthy and attractive. It isn’t enough to simply brush and floss, though – you have to do both correctly to get the most benefit out of your dental hygiene routine. Using proper techniques for brushing and flossing can also help you avoid damaging your teeth and gums

Keeping your teeth and gums clean is especially hard if you wear braces. Fortunately, there are ways to brush and floss your teeth with braces. 

Best Brushing and Flossing Techniques to Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy

Tooth brushing technique

Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. This angle helps the toothbrush do a better job of cleaning your gumline.

Move the toothbrush back and forth. Use short strokes – about the length of a tooth. Be gentle to avoid damaging your gums.

To clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth, turn the brush 90-degrees. Make several up-and-down strokes over the surface of each tooth. Be sure to brush the supporting gum tissue.

Clean the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Use short, gentle strokes. Turn the toothbrush as needed to reach all surfaces. 

Rinse vigorously to swish away any plaque you may have loosened while brushing. 

Brushing with braces

Rinse your mouth to loosen any food stuck in and around your braces. 

Use a toothbrush with a small, round head that can access all the surfaces of your mouth, teeth, and gums. 

Apply a small amount of fluoride toothpaste to the toothbrush.

Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Move the toothbrush in small circles, keeping the bristles at the gumline, as you work along the entire lengths of your gumlines. 

Shift the angle of the toothbrush to brush the tops of the brackets. Next, reposition the toothbrush to brush under the brackets and wires. Clean each tooth individually. 

Finish by brushing the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Check your work in the mirror.

Flossing technique

Break off a piece of floss – about 18 to 24 inches will do. Wind most of the floss around each of your middle fingers, with more floss on one finger than on the other. Leave about 1 to 2 inches of floss to fit between your teeth.

Pinch the inch or two of floss between your thumb and index fingers, and pull it taunt. 

Slip the dental floss between two teeth. Glide the floss up and down, and rub it against both sides of each tooth.

Avoid pulling the floss straight down into your gums, as this can scratch or bruise the delicate gum tissue. As the floss nears your gumline, pull the floss around your tooth into a “C” shape to allow the floss to gently enter the space between your gum and your teeth. 

Move from tooth to tooth, repeating each step. Be sure to use a new section of floss for each tooth. 

Flossing with braces

Snap off 18 to 24 inches of waxed dental floss. 

Stand in front of a mirror to make it easier to see where you are placing the floss. 

Threat the floss between the main wire and your teeth. Wrap the loose ends of the floss around your index fingers so that it’s easier to move the floss around. 

Being as gentle as possible, press the floss between two teeth. Glide the floss up and down against the sides of the teeth on either side of the floss. 

Flossing your top teeth with braces requires special technique. First go up the side of one tooth. When you reach the gumline, make an upside-down U with the floss. Next, glide the floss down the surface of the other tooth. 

Remove the floss and unthread it from behind the metal wire. Try to avoid “popping” the floss out, as doing so could dislodge a wire, which requires a trip to your dentist to fix. 

Move onto the next two teeth, using the same flossing technique between all of your teeth. 

Make sure to maintain a regular dental checkup and dental cleaning schedule. During your dental checkup, our team of dental health professionals can look for any issues associated with dental hygiene, such as dental cavities and gum disease. Maintaining a professional dental cleaning routine helps you avoid dental health problems and keep your teeth clean. During your dental appointment, we can also help you improve your techniques for brushing and flossing. 

For more information about brushing and flossing techniques, contact Great Lakes Dental. Our dentist in Mentor, OH, can help you keep your teeth looking and feeling their best.