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Caring for your Braces

Project 19 of 21

Your guide to taking care of your teeth while wearing braces.



Wearing braces requires extra time when brushing to make certain that all plaque and food debris are removed. Special attention must be paid not only to cleaning teeth and gums, but also brackets and wires.

Begin by placing brush at 45 degree angle against gums and gently brush against gumline using small short strokes

Gently brush brackets by pressing firmly enough so the bristles spread in between the wire and the tooth

Make sure to brush under the wires and brackets

Other oral care products, such as Go-Between interdental brushes, may be needed to further clean around the wires and brackets

Use of electric toothbushes and/ or water picks are encouraged  


It is very important to massage gums as they can become red and irritated from not cleaning properly

Brush both the inside and outside surfaces of all teeth

Use fluoride toothpaste

Because tooth decay is at a higher risk with braces, fluoride rinse or gel is recommended to use once a day

When flossing, a floss threader will need to be used








Wearing Elastics


Wearing elastics (or rubber bands) creates a gentle force that helps move your teeth into alignment. You must wear them at all times, even while sleeping, to keep the force constant. They are used for bite correction and aid in closing spaces. It is important to follow the instructions and wear them as directed.   Poor elastic cooperation (not wearing them enough every day) will usually lead to extending treatment time. The only time your elastics should be out is while eating and brushing your teeth. Then they should be replaced immediately. You will be given instructions on how to wear your elastics.







Foods to avoid:

Certain foods can loosen, bend or break wires and brackets. Try to avoid the following foods:

  • Sticky foods (such as caramels, gummy bears, and chewing gum)
  •  Hard foods (such as nuts and popcorn)
  • Beef Jerky Pizza Crust (and other Italian breads)
  • Crunchy snacks (such as potato chips and pretzels)

Also avoid biting into hard foods with your front teeth. Cut or break up foods such as:

  • Raw vegetables
  • Croutons
  • French/Italian bread
  • Fruit
  • Hard rolls
  • Thin crust pizza
  • Meat
  • Burgers
  • Sub sandwiches
  • Corn on the cob