Cassandra P.
Wilk & Wilk Patient

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Brushing & Flossing Teeth Braces

First Things First…

Before treatment begins, we recommend visiting your family Dentist for a cleaning and a checkup and to complete any necessary dental work that may be required. During treatment, we recommend regular three- to six-month visits to your family Dentist. Maintaining a healthy diet and visiting your family Dentist on a regular basis are part of ongoing oral care required for healthy teeth and gums during orthodontic treatment.

Two Minutes, Twice a Day

Girl with Dental Braces

Zoe H.
Wilk & Wilk Patient

Please brush at least 2 times per day for at least 2 minutes each time. This is important because plaque begins forming in only 4-12 hours after brushing! We recommend brushing with a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is important because it replaces minerals that are lost when tooth decay starts developing and it makes the teeth more resistant to the acids formed after eating and drinking. Some of our patients prefer brushing with an electric or ultrasonic toothbrush because it seems easier. Just remember that it is still important to guide the brush head to all the surfaces of the teeth! After using your toothbrush, shake it under tap water and store it in an upright position so it can air out.

Brushing Around Braces

When you brush your teeth, place your brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and move the brush slowly and carefully in small, circular motions. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the gums of the lower teeth, down on gums of the upper teeth, and brush the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth to help freshen your breath.

Maintaining excellent oral hygiene habits will allow your teeth to stay healthy which can help them move into their corrected positions quicker. This may possibly shorten the length of time you wear braces.

If Your Toothbrush is Worn, Change It

Teenager Smiling With Toothbrush

Jack G.
Wilk & Wilk Patient

In general, toothbrushes should be replaced after three months of normal wear. After this time, they are less effective at removing plaque from the teeth and gums because their bristles break down. You will likely need to replace your toothbrush more often due to your braces. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one.

Eliminate the Plaque, Eliminate the Problems

If you don’t take care of your teeth as well as you should, plaque (a clear sticky film of bacteria) will accumulate and stick to your teeth. Then it will react with any food left on the teeth and break down the sugar in the food into acids that can damage tooth enamel. This can lead to tooth discolouration, white spots (decalcification) and tooth decay (cavities). Plaque also causes bleeding and inflammation of the gums called gingivitis, which is the initial form of gum disease that can make your gums red, swollen, and sore. These same problems can occur without orthodontic treatment, but the risk is greater to an individual wearing braces, Invisalign® or other appliances. Since plaque begins forming in only 4-12 hours after brushing, it is very important to brush at least two times per day for at least two minutes each time. The early stages of tooth decay and gingivitis can be reversed with excellent oral hygiene habits and paying close attention to your diet.

Floss is the Boss

flosWe recommend daily flossing while wearing braces because there will always be areas where food particles like to hide and where the toothbrush bristles cannot reach. This could increase your risk of developing cavities or gum disease.

We recommend using waxed floss or dental tape because unwaxed floss is more likely to get caught and fray in your braces. Since flossing with braces is more difficult, we will provide a reusable floss threader to make daily flossing much easier with your braces.

To floss, pull a small length of floss through the threader and slide it between the wire and the tooth. Try not to snap the floss, but instead, guide the floss between the teeth moving it up and down along the side of each tooth to the gum line. Remove the floss from between the wire and tooth, repeat between each tooth moving the floss through the threader as you go, so that a clean segment of floss is used for each tooth.


Since flossing correctly with braces can be a time-consuming exercise that requires alot of patience, we are excited about orthodontic floss sticks. A floss stick is a small plastic tool that holds a piece of dental floss and has a special spatula end that allows the floss to reach down to the gumline. Say goodbye to the hours spent in the bathroom! Now our patients can floss quickly, easily, and even on the go.

Waterpik® Water Flosser

The use of a Waterpik® water flosser with an orthodontic tip is also an easy and effective way to remove plaque around the braces and to remove plaque and debris deep between the teeth and below the gumline where traditional brushing and floss picks can’t reach. It is clinically proven to be up to three times as effective as string floss.

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