10 Tips for Maintaining Oral Hygiene with Braces

Getting braces is an exciting step toward achieving that perfect smile you’ve always wanted, but it does come with a few extra responsibilities. Maintaining good oral hygiene with braces can be a bit tricky, but it’s essential for ensuring your treatment goes smoothly and your teeth stay healthy.

At Pendleton Orthodontics, we understand that keeping your teeth clean with braces can feel like a challenge. That’s why we’re here to help with practical advice and expert guidance. In this article, we’ll share ten invaluable tips for braces to keep your oral hygiene in top shape. 

Whether you’re a new braces wearer or a seasoned pro, these tips will help you navigate your orthodontic journey with confidence and ease. 

1. Brush After Every Meal

Brushing your teeth after every meal is crucial when you have braces. Food particles and plaque can easily get trapped in the brackets and wires, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. This can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and prolonged treatment times.

Take your time and make sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth, including the fronts, backs, and chewing surfaces. Pay special attention to the areas around the brackets and under the wires. 

A good rule of thumb is to brush for at least two minutes each time. If you’re not at home, carry a travel toothbrush and toothpaste with you. That way, you can keep your teeth clean no matter where you are.

2. Use Interdental Brushes

While your regular toothbrush does a great job of cleaning the surfaces of your teeth, it can’t always reach those tight spaces between brackets and wires. That’s where interdental brushes come in handy. 

These small, specially designed brushes can get into the nooks and crannies that a standard toothbrush might miss, helping to remove food particles and plaque buildup.

They’re perfect for cleaning around brackets and under wires, ensuring that your teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible throughout your treatment. 

3. Floss Daily

Flossing is a critical part of maintaining good oral hygiene, especially when you have braces. It helps remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth and along the gumline, areas your toothbrush can’t always reach. 

While it might seem challenging with braces, daily flossing is essential for preventing cavities and gum disease.

An excellent option for this is a water flosser, which uses a stream of water to clean between your teeth and around your braces. Water flossers are particularly effective and can be easier to use than traditional floss. They are gentle on your gums and can help remove debris that might be stuck in hard-to-reach places.

4. Rinse with Mouthwash

Incorporating mouthwash into your daily oral hygiene routine can provide an extra layer of protection for your teeth and gums, especially when you have braces. An antibacterial mouthwash helps reduce plaque buildup and fight bacteria that cause gum disease and bad breath. 

Plus, it can reach areas that brushing and flossing might miss, ensuring a more thorough clean.

If you’re unsure which mouthwash is best for you, the team at Pendleton Orthodontics can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific needs. They often suggest products that are gentle yet effective, making sure your mouth stays healthy and comfortable throughout your orthodontic treatment.

5. Avoid Certain Foods

When you have braces, being mindful of what you eat is crucial. Certain foods can damage your braces, prolong your treatment time, or even cause oral health issues. By avoiding these problematic foods, you’ll help ensure your orthodontic journey is as smooth and effective as possible.

Crunchy foods like raw carrots, apples, and corn on the cob should also be avoided unless they’re cut into smaller, manageable pieces. Additionally, foods that are high in sugar should be consumed in moderation, as they can contribute to plaque buildup and cavities, especially in the hard-to-clean areas around your braces.

6. Regular Orthodontic Check-Ups

Regular orthodontic check-ups are another important part of maintaining your braces and ensuring your treatment progresses as planned. These appointments allow your orthodontist to monitor your progress, make necessary adjustments, and address any issues that might arise. 

Skipping or delaying these check-ups can lead to prolonged treatment times and potential complications.

Check-ups also provide an excellent opportunity to discuss any concerns or discomfort you might be experiencing.

7. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water helps keep your mouth clean, reduces the risk of cavities, and can alleviate some of the discomfort associated with wearing braces. It’s a simple yet effective way to maintain good oral hygiene throughout your orthodontic treatment.

Sipping water throughout the day can also help combat dry mouth, which is a common issue for braces wearers. A well-hydrated mouth produces more saliva, which naturally helps to neutralize acids and remineralize your teeth. This is especially important when you have braces, as saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your teeth and gums.

8. Use Orthodontic Wax

Braces can sometimes cause irritation and discomfort in your mouth, especially when you’re first getting used to them. This is where orthodontic wax comes in handy. Orthodontic wax is a simple yet effective solution to protect your gums and the inside of your cheeks from the sharp edges of brackets and wires.

Orthodontic wax is especially useful when you first get your braces or after an adjustment, as these are the times when your mouth might be more sensitive. It’s also handy to have during sports or other activities where your braces might cause additional irritation.

9. Don’t Smoke

Smoking is harmful to your overall health, and it’s particularly detrimental when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. The chemicals in tobacco can stain your teeth, increase plaque buildup, and slow down the healing process in your mouth. 

For those with braces, these effects are even more pronounced, making it crucial to avoid smoking during your orthodontic journey.

We strongly advise against smoking while wearing braces. Smoking can lead to a host of oral health problems, including gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath.

10. Stay Positive and Patient

Embarking on the journey to a beautiful smile with braces can sometimes feel like a marathon rather than a sprint. It’s important to stay positive and patient throughout your orthodontic treatment. The process takes time, but the end result—a healthier, more confident smile—is well worth the wait!

Remember to keep your end goal in mind and remember that each day with braces is a step closer to achieving the smile you’ve always wanted.

It’s also helpful to stay informed and involved in your treatment plan. Ask questions during your appointments and make sure you understand the progress you’re making.


Maintaining oral hygiene with braces might seem like an intimidating task, but with the right tips and a little dedication, it’s entirely manageable. By following these ten tips, you’ll ensure that your teeth and gums stay healthy throughout your orthodontic treatment, paving the way for a beautiful, confident smile.

Remember, good oral hygiene is the key to a successful orthodontic treatment. By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you’ll not only protect your braces but also enhance your overall dental health. If you ever have questions or need additional support, don’t hesitate to reach out to Pendleton Orthodontics.