Caring for your braces: Brushing, flossing, and eating


Proper oral hygiene becomes even more important with braces! In our orthodontic offices in Norwalk and Westport, we place a tremendous amount of emphasis on brushing and flossing properly with braces. Improving your overall dental health is the overriding goal of any dental treatment.

While orthodontics improves your smile and bite relationship, you have a responsibility to clean your teeth diligently throughout treatment to prevent any gum inflammation, cavities, demineralization, or white-spot lesions.

In addition to brushing and flossing correctly, you also need to pay attention to your diet. Certain foods should be avoided to minimize the likelihood of having any problems with breakage of braces while you’re in treatment.

Foods to AVOID with braces

  • Extremely hard foods
  • Hard, crusty breads like toasted bagels or pizza crust
  • Nuts
  • Ice
  • Frozen candy bars or frozen cookies
  • Hard chips or pretzels
  • Un-popped popcorn kernels
  • Hard candy
  • Whole apples (cut into small pieces instead)
  • Extremely sticky foods
  • Gum
  • Gummy bears
  • Now-and-Laters
  • Swedish fish
  • Starburst
  • Sugar Daddy
  • Other very sticky candies such as caramels
  • Sugary drinks
  • Sodas
  • Juices
  • Energy drinks (e.g., Red Bull and Monster)
  • Sports drinks (e.g., Gatorade and Powerade)

After drinking a sugary drink, brush your teeth immediately to remove the sugary acidic layer from the surface of the teeth.

Brushing with braces

Besides brushing the top of the teeth, you should place the brush where the teeth meet the gums. Then, brush at an angle, allowing the bristles to brush both the gum and the tooth surface next to the gum.

Also, at this angle, the brush will remove any food debris or plaque from under the wire and around the braces. Brushing in this fashion also stimulates the gum and reduces the potential for gum inflammation.

If you are confused, don’t worry: We demonstrate and discuss in detail how to brush properly and thoroughly on the day you get your braces.

Flossing with braces

Many people unfortunately think that flossing is not possible with braces. In reality, excellent instruments exist to make flossing with braces a breeze. We can show you numerous different techniques and provide samples of various products so you can decide which one you prefer.

How do we teach proper brushing and flossing?

On the day that you or your child receives braces in one of our offices, we perform a thorough demonstration of proper brushing and flossing techniques. We discuss various techniques and tricks to help you become amazing at oral hygiene. You leave with a bag of excellent instruments to use, and we show you how to use each one.

In addition, we show a detailed video that reinforces our instructions.

Why do some patients have white marks where their braces used to be?

If a patient takes poor care of his or her teeth while undergoing treatment with braces, a potential side effect is white-spot lesions. With proper brushing and flossing, the likelihood of white-spot lesions is essentially eliminated.

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