Having braces adds a new challenge to your daily brushing routine. Yes, the straight, beautiful smile is worth all the effort, but how do you effectively clean your teeth with braces? It’s easier than you might think.

Choose a Soft Toothbrush

There are two main reasons for this.

Reason one: Softer toothbrushes won’t irritate your gums as you navigate around your brackets. Yes, normally, your brush comes into contact with your gums, but that becomes especially prevalent once you’re brushing with braces on.

Reason two: A softer toothbrush has more pliable bristles that more easily get into all the nooks and crannies behind and around your braces. Harder toothbrush bristles won’t move as easily and, therefore, won’t do as good of a job.

Use Less Toothpaste

This one seems counterintuitive, but it really is essential. When you use a lot of toothpaste, it actually becomes more difficult to see the plaque on your teeth. All that foam gets in the way. A small, pea-sized amount is plenty.

Floss Threaders and Waterpiks

Flossing isn’t easy with braces, but it can still be done. There are specialized tools to thread floss through and make flossing easier with braces. You can also opt for floss picks or waterpiks for an easier experience.

water pik 1024x683 - Easy Tips for Cleaning Between Your Teeth When You Have Braces


Mouthwash is generally a helpful tool, but especially when you have braces. Think of it as a final once-over of your dental routine. This helps get rid of any stubborn debris that you couldn’t get to or didn’t notice during the rest of your routine.

After brushing and flossing, rinse with an anti-cavity mouthwash designed to protect your enamel.

Brush After Every Meal

Generally, you’re fine brushing in the morning and evening. However, when you have braces, you want to brush your teeth after every meal. It’s so easy for pieces of food to get stuck behind the brackets.

If you aren’t home for each meal, having travel toothbrushes–reusable or disposable–is essential.

It’s worth noting that you should brush your teeth right after every meal–except meals with acidic foods. Wait about 30-60 minutes before brushing your teeth if you’ve had an orange or any other acidic food or drink.

Get a Professional Cleaning

Yes, you can still get professional teeth cleanings when you have braces. Just because you have them doesn’t mean you should skip your annual cleaning. Really, you want to get your teeth cleaned every six months, but you should go once a year at an absolute minimum.

Getting a professional cleaning will help you get ahead of any issues with the health of your teeth and keep your smile white, even with braces.

Consider Your Diet

This isn’t technically a tip for cleaning your teeth, but it is a preventative measure. The easiest way to clean your teeth while wearing braces is to pick your foods carefully.

You want to choose foods that won’t get stuck in your braces and cause you to have to work hard to get them dislodged. Even if you’re really diligent about brushing your teeth, you may miss a little piece of food because it’s lodged in the back of your mouth.

Avoid foods that will get stuck in your braces, like popcorn, candy, or nuts. The same goes for overly acidic food and drink. High acid content isn’t friendly to your teeth, meaning you need to be really careful about your brushing–which is already difficult with braces.

If you aren’t sure what you should avoid while you have braces, the team at Reuland and Barnhart Ortho can advise you.

This site’s strategy, design, photo & video were created by the marginally-above-average folks @ Clear Partnering Group.