Oral Hygiene - St. Louis Orthodontist

Maintaining good oral hygiene is an important part of your orthodontic treatment. Your braces, bands, wires, aligners, and retainers can trap food debris and make it tricky to remove plaque with brushing and flossing. Practicing careful dental hygiene after eating is the best way to avoid plaque accumulation, tooth decay, and gum disease. Follow these oral hygiene tips for braces patients, and contact drName at practiceName in St. Louis if you have more questions.


oral hygiene - brushing teeth

Strive to brush your teeth three times each day to get rid of food particles that can build up in your teeth and braces. Aim to brush after breakfast, after lunch or right after school, after dinner, and at bedtime.


oral hygiene - flossing

Since aligners are removable, flossing will be not be affected.  Even though it can be time-consuming with braces, it’s important to floss your teeth daily, especially for adult patients. The ideal time is before going to bed so that your teeth are clean for the night. A reusable floss threader can be very helpful in getting the floss under your wires. Pull a small amount of floss through the threader before sliding it up and down along the front of every tooth. Floss gently around your archwire to avoid damaging it.

Mouth Rinse

oral hygiene - water rinse

A salt water mouth rinse can minimize gum or cheek inflammation, avoid infection, and reduce irritation caused by braces. Salt water rinsing promotes healing inside your mouth and reduced swelling. General irritation from braces, canker sores, cheek bites, or other minor gum issues can be improved by using this rinse.

Interdental Toothbrush

oral hygiene - toothbrush

An interdental toothbrush means that it goes between the teeth. It is good for cleaning under and around your braces and archwires. Use an interdental toothbrush gently to avoid wire damage.

Topical Fluoride

oral hygiene - tooth brush
To help prevent tooth decay while wearing braces, use a sodium fluoride gel. It kills bacteria and replenishes minerals in tooth enamel. Apply the gel with a toothbrush for one minute, then spit it out. Avoid eating, drinking, or rinsing for 30 minutes to let the active ingredient stay on your teeth. Remember, daily brushing and flossing are still necessary.

Removable Appliance

oral hygiene - retainer

Part of your routine should be brushing your removable appliance every day. Just like your teeth, the appliance can accumulate plaque buildup. If you like you can soak your appliance daily in a denture cleaning tablet that has been dissolved in room temperature tap water.


Can I use an electric toothbrush with braces?

Yes, using an electric toothbrush can be effective for cleaning your teeth and braces. Look for a model with a small brush head and soft bristles, specifically designed for orthodontic patients.

How should I clean my orthodontic retainer?

If you have a removable orthodontic retainer, it’s important to clean it properly. Rinse it with water after each meal, and brush it gently with a toothbrush and mild soap or non-abrasive toothpaste. Avoid using hot water, as it can warp the retainer.

Is it necessary to visit the dentist more frequently while wearing braces?

Yes, it is recommended to maintain regular dental check-ups every six months, or as advised by your orthodontist. These visits allow the dentist to monitor your oral health, clean your teeth thoroughly, and make any necessary adjustments to your braces.

Can I still whiten my teeth while wearing braces?

It is generally not recommended to whiten your teeth while wearing braces. The brackets and wires can create areas of uneven coloration if you undergo teeth whitening treatments. It’s best to wait until after your braces are removed to achieve a consistent and desirable teeth whitening result.