Brushing and Flossing

When you have braces, it's very important to brush and floss after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment. If you need help choosing the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss, please ask us and we can help you choose the right products for your teeth and your appliance.

Brushing with Braces

Brush your teeth for two minutes after every meal with a soft-bristled, small-headed toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. As an alternative, you can use a powered toothbrush to increase your brushing effectiveness. Brush the outside and inside surfaces of your teeth using small, gentle, circular motions while positioning the head of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line. Brush your teeth’s chewing surfaces and the inside surface of your front teeth using short, gentle, back-and-forth motions. Pay close attention to the areas around your brackets or other appliances.

Download our Brushing Instructions >

brushing with braces

Flossing with Braces

Flossing after every meal will help keep your teeth and braces clean, which will also help keep your treatment time on track. To floss with braces, use a floss threader or special orthodontic floss to thread the floss behind each wire. Wrap the ends of the floss around your pointer fingers of both hands, leaving a few inches of taut floss between them. Gently slide the floss between each set of teeth using a back and forth motion. Floss the sides of each tooth beneath the gum line to remove plaque and food particles. Repeat this process until you’ve flossed all of your teeth. If you find that your floss is not removing all of the food particles between your teeth and around your braces, ask us about a water flosser!

flossing with braces



The Waterpik is a supplement to tooth brushing and helps break up bacteria and food particles that collect on your teeth beneath the gum tissue and in between each tooth.  It is not a substitution for brushing or flossing.

General Information:

The Waterpik is to be used at least two times a day.  Use it before you brush after breakfast, and prior to brushing after dinner.  Using your Waterpik every time you eat is ideal, but we realize that during school or work it may not be practical.  We repeat:  The Waterpick DOES NOT take the place of your toothbrush and dental floss.  You must use all three items in order to keep your teeth and gum tissue healthy during orthodontic treatment.

When you first begin using the Waterpick begin on the lowest pressure and slowly work up to full pressure.  Hold the tip of the Waterpick at a 90-degree angle to your tooth aiming the stream of water between each tooth.  Be sure the tip of the Waterpik is touching/contacting the tooth surface.  DO NOT shoot the water directly down to the socket of the root.  Hold the tip in between your teeth at the gum line for the count of four and then continue on tooth to tooth.  Begin on the upper right; work around to the upper left, down to the lower left and around to the lower right.  Follow the same steps for the inside of each tooth.

Use warm water and only a drop or two of mouthwash if you choose.  DO NOT use straight mouthwash or baking soda; as these can clog up the internal parts of your Waterpik.  If not done daily, the food particles will form plaque, which cannot be removed by the Waterpik.

The most inexpensive place to purchase your Waterpik is any of our two locations, West or Northeast. Please see front desk or clinical assistants for details.

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