Brushing and Flossing with Braces

Orthodontic Treatment in Gaithersburg, MD

At the office of Dr. Charles C. Harrington, we're proud to help patients throughout Gaithersburg, North Potomac, Kentlands/Lakelands, and the greater Rockville, MD area achieve beautiful, healthy smiles through quality orthodontic treatment. We strive to customize our treatment plans to suit each patient's unique lifestyle, making orthodontic treatment an easy and convenient process. But just as important as the in-office care we provide is how you care for your teeth and braces at home – and it all starts with proper brushing and flossing. 

Brushing Teeth with Braces

Brushing your teeth is a cornerstone of oral hygiene, and it's even more important while wearing braces. But brushing with braces requires a slightly different technique from what most people are used to.

For starters, you'll need a soft-bristle or bi-level toothbrush and a fluoridated toothbrush. You can use an electric brush as well, but be sure it's on a moderate setting and be careful not to let the back of the brush hit your braces. During orthodontic treatment with braces, we recommend brushing at least two times daily: once after breakfast and once before bed. 

Effectively cleaning your teeth requires proper brushing technique. Start on the outside of the teeth, carefully placing the bristles of the brush between your gums and brackets.  Short back and forth strokes work the best to gently clean the teeth and remove bits of debris. Next brush between the braces and the chewing surface using the same short back and forth strokes, then brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Finally, finish by brushing the inside (tongue-side) surfaces of the teeth just as you did on the outside. 

How to Floss with Braces

Flossing is just as important as brushing, and it requires a bit more intensive process while wearing braces. To floss with braces, you'll need to use a tool called Soft-Picks: a small plastic handle with bristle end. To use the Soft-Pick gently push and pull it between the teeth next to the gums.  Simply repeat this process for every gap between the teeth and you'll be on you way to comprehensive dental health. 

Special Oral Hygiene Tools for Braces

Another helpful tool is an oral irrigator, or "water pick." This mechanized device creates a small, pressurized jet of water that you can use to dislodge bits of food and debris trapped between teeth and braces. Water picks aren't a substitute for either brushing or flossing, but they can be a helpful supplement for keeping your teeth sparkling clean. We suggest using prior to brushing to remove the heavy debris that build up in between brushing.

Finally, using specially-made vegetable dyes called "disclosing tablets" or "disclosing solutions" is another great way to amplify your oral hygiene. These dyes highlight food particles and plaque left behind after brushing and flossing, helping you see where your teeth are clean and where you need to be a little more diligent. 

Contact Your North Potomac, MD Orthodontist

By following these simple steps, you can keep your teeth clean and healthy, preventing dental decay and ensuring successful orthodontic treatment. Feel free to reach out to us at our contact page if you have more questions about oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment, or if you'd like to pursue a new smile of your own, simply request a consultation online. We can't wait to hear from you, and we look forward to helping you achieve your dream smile!