Oral Hygiene

Orthodontic Hygiene

  • Introduction
  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Rinsing
  • Interdental Toothbrush
  • Retainer Care
  • Food Guidelines

Now that you have your braces in place, it's even more important to maintain good hygiene during your treatment. Braces, wires, bands and retainers can trap food particles and make it difficult to brush or floss away plaque. Careful brushing and flossing, preferably after every meal and snack, is the best way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease.

You can learn more about proper orthodontic hygiene by clicking on the buttons for each particular topic.

  • Step 1Flossing - Step 1

    Floss at least once a day. You need to pull the floss under the archwire with a floss threader. Start by pulling floss through the threader.

  • Step 2Flossing - Step 2

    Push the end of the floss threader under the archwire and pull the floss through.

  • Step 3Flossing - Step 3

    Pull the floss up between the teeth and gently move it up and down the side of both teeth. Remember to move it up all the way under the gums.

  • Step 4Flossing - Step 4

    Pull the floss out and use a different section of it for the next tooth.

  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3
  • Step 4


When you're finished brushing and flossing, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water or an antiseptic dental rinse. An antiseptic rinse can help minor gum inflammations and irritations from orthodontic appliances, as well as cleanse canker sores and other minor wounds. It can also remove debris or irritants from the mouth, speeding up your body's natural healing process.

Interdental Toothbrush

Using an interdental toothbrush (proxabrush) can help keep your teeth, braces and gums clean and healthy. Use this device slowly and carefully to clean under orthodontic wires and around braces, taking care not to damage your braces.

Retainer Care

Since retainers can accumulate food particles and plaque, brush your retainer every time you brush your teeth. Also soak your retainer once a day in a glass of room-temperature tap water with a denture-cleaning tablet. This will help prevent plaque build-up and oral infections and keep it tasting better. DO NOT use hot water, which can distort the appliance.

Food Guidelines

During your first week in braces, stick to a soft food diet until any discomfort subsides. Afterward, you can eat just about anything while wearing braces, with a few exceptions.

You should avoid hard foods like ice and pizza crust, as well as sticky foods such as caramels and chewing gum, since they can damage wires and brackets. Also minimize sugary foods like ice cream and cookies, and reduce sugared drinks like soda or milk to once a day.