The Ultimate Guide - How to Clean Braces Properly | Smile Stories

The Ultimate Guide – How to Clean Braces Properly

It can be tricky knowing how to clean braces.

Sometimes it can be a worry that you’re not cleaning your teeth properly when you’ve had your brace fitted. And it’s true, your teeth do need some extra TLC while you’re wearing them.

The great news is that by buying a few cheap brushing aids and small changes in your brushing technique you can easily adapt to your new orthodontic braces.

Let’s see why it’s important to know how to clean braces properly…

Don’t give plaque an excuse to stick to your teeth.

Plaque is the white soft stuff that collects on your tooth surface if they’re inadequately cleaned. It’s basically a collection of living, breathing and eating (and pooing) bacteria.

If plaque isn’t removed by brushing, every time you have a meal, the bacteria get the leftovers. The waste they produce from eating it then causes tooth decay.

Not ideal.

Orthodontic braces can trap extra plaque

teeth with plaque

Braces create nooks and crannies where the bacteria can sit and live, escaping the wrath of your toothbrush.

If you let this happen it can create problems.

Inadequate cleaning while wearing a brace can lead to increased gum disease, decay and markings (called decalcification and shown in the photo above) on your teeth.

Gum disease is normally reversible, but decay may lead to fillings.

So, brush after every meal – the fronts, tops, backs and in between your teeth.

The kit you’ll need

  1. Soft toothbrush
  2. Single tufted toothbrush
  3. Tepe (interdental brush)
  4. Fluoride toothpaste
  5. Fluoride mouthwash

How to clean braces – Your step-by-step brushing technique 

When brushing your teeth it’s crucial you touch every surface with a brush.

You can’t see between your teeth or under a wire but there is plaque there.

  1. Rinse out with water first to remove loose debris after every meal.
  2. Brush the fronts
single tufted brush to clean braces

Take your soft toothbrush and brush the areas of the teeth that have no brackets or wires first. All the way to your gumline and the tip of the tooth.

Using your single tufted brush, clean around each of the brackets before tilting your toothbrush 45 degrees and gently cleaning under the wires.

Brush with fluoride toothpaste and never rinse with water afterwards.

You can find the single tufted brushes on Amazon, enabling you to clean your braces properly.

  1. Between your teeth

The wires mean you won’t be able to pass floss between your teeth while your orthodontic brace is on.

Interdental brushes are your friend. These can be passed through at your gumline between each tooth.

Again, these can be picked up on Amazon. They come in different sizes so make sure you get the yellow ones.

  1. Top and back surfaces

This is easy. Your braces won’t affect how you do this.

  1. Fluoride mouthwash
fluoriguard mouthwash

For added protection use fluoride mouthwash at a different time of the day to brushing.

There’s no point straight after brushing as your toothpaste will have the same ingredient.


Never miss your regular dental checkups.

You may see a regular specialist orthodontist every month, but your dentist still needs to maintain the health of your teeth. They’ll look for any issues unrelated to your brace.


Dr Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS RCPS (Glasg) is a Poole & Bournemouth-based dentist who qualified with honours. He has a keen interest in aesthetic dentistry and orthodontics. For more information click here.

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