How to clean your braces

Braces trap food very easily which promotes plaque formation. Plaque can lead to gum disease and enamel damage. With daily use of effective oral hygiene techniques, plaque build-up can be prevented.

The foundation of good oral hygiene is effective brushing, This is done with a fluoridated toothpaste and a soft bristled brush. Brushing should be done after every meal and snack and should be done slowly and carefully.  It is important to not only brush the braces but also brush both the inside and chewing surfaces of the teeth.



Step 1:

Hold the brush at an angle above the braces away from the gums. Scrub in small circles 10 times, make sure the gumline is also being cleaned.





Step 2:

Hold the brush straight against the braces. Scrub in small circles 10 times





Step 3:

Hold the brush at an angle towards the chewing surface. Scrub in small circles 10 times.



Flossing with Braces


*Flossing with braces should be done at least once a day, preferably twice a day*



Another way to floss with braces is to use superfloss. This can also be purchased at any pharmacy or grocery store. One end is a floss threader and the other end can be used for flossing. Thread the pointy end underneath the wire, used the next segment to clean around the brackets, then floss between the teeth using the regular floss at the end of the superfloss.


Floss Threader:

A floss threader is very helpful in getting the floss under the archwire. It can be purchased from any pharmacy. You place regular floss through the eye of the floss threader, then simply use the pointy tip to thread the floss underneath the wire and floss around the brackets and between the teeth.

A List of Foods to be Avoided During the Orthodontic Treatment

GUM: Bubble Gum, Trident, Freedent 

TAFFY: Laffy Taffy, Airheads, Starbursts, JuJubes, Gummy Bears, Jelly Bean

CARAMEL: Kraft Caramels, Caramel Apples, Tootsie Rolls, Snickers, Milk Duds

HARD THINGS:  Ice Cubes, Pens & Pencils, Whole Apples, Whole Carrots, Popcorn Seeds, Nuts

In addition to the above groups, come the group called Sweets.  Sweets can be eaten but it is very important that you brush or rinse your mouth immediately after eating them.  The Sweets will not cause damage to your braces but they will cause damage to your teeth.  Any food or debris that stays on the teeth and around the braces too long  can cause those white spots on your teeth. The worse of all the sweets are soft drinks (Coke/Pepsi)  It doesn’t matter if the soft drink is diet or not, it will have the same effect on your teeth.


  • Elastics move the teeth in a direction which cannot be accomplished with braces alone.
  • Your teeth and jaws may be tender the first few days of wearing the elastics.  This is normal and should begin to disappear within a week.  If it persists longer, please call our office.
  • It may seem hard for you to put on the elastics at first, however it will become easier with practice.
  • Elastic wear must be constant to be effective: 24 hours a day & 7 days a week
  • You may remove the elastics only when eating your meals and brushing your teeth.  Be sure to replace the elastics with new ones immediately following mealtime and brushing.  Part-time wear doesn’t move teeth.
  • Change the elastics routinely even if they are not broken. After awhile, elastics lose their strength.  Change them at least after breakfast, lunch & dinner.  If one elastics breaks, replace both sides.
  • Carry extra elastics with you at all times.  If you don’t have enough elastics to last until your next appointment, please stop by our office and pick more up. We don’t want you to run out.
  • Elastics wear is an important key to the speed of your treatment and final result we can achieve.  Please call us if you have any questions or concerns. Good luck with your elastics!

Broken Brackets

Brackets and wires can break during your orthodontic treatment.  Sometimes patients have received some sort of trauma to the mouth or maybe they decided to eat from the “No Eats List.”  The average patient will break at least one bracket during the course of their treatment.  Sometimes the brackets will come loose while the patient is just sitting around but this only happens if the brace has already been somewhat loosened earlier and did not fully break free from the tooth.

Broken brackets will result in a delay in treatment.  Should you have a bracket come loose before your next appointment, KEEP THE BRACKET and please give us a call as soon as possible so we can book the correct amount of time to replace it.  We also want you to know that this requires some time and appointments may have to be during the day as before and after school appointments get booked fairly quickly.

The first 3 lost brackets are free. After that, there will be a $35.00 charge for each additional lost bracket. Lost or broken brackets are one reason why we fall behind in our daily schedule so please inform us as soon as you are seated so we can prepare for replacing the bracket before the dentist comes in.

Poking Wires

As teeth start to move, the wires may shift or may seem to get longer and start poking your cheeks.  Please use the wax provided in your take-home bag – rip off a piece of wax and place in any areas that may be irritating your mouth.  If  length of the wire is causing you a lot of discomfort, please call our office and we will book you as soon as possible to cut or replace the wire.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will my teeth be sore?

Expect the teeth to be somewhat tender for the first few days after your braces are placed and after your monthly adjustments.  If needed, take what you usually take for pain such as Advil. (children’s advil)

Will the inside of my lips be sore forever?

From time to time, your cheeks and lips may become irritated.  Your cheeks and lips will eventually toughen up and the brackets wont be as bothersome.  If an ulcer forms, use the wax provided in your take-home bag.  You may also rinse with warm salt water to help the area heal.

Do I still have to see my dentist for cleanings and check-ups?

YES! Please continue to see your dentist for regular cleanings.  They may also suggest you come in for more frequent cleanings as plaque and calculus build-up may increase as it isn’t as easy as it used to be to clean at home.  The hygienist and your orthodontic staff will further discuss with you proper oral hygiene and at-home care.  Please book hygiene appointments before your orthodontic appointment if they are co-ordinated on the same day so the wires and elastics can be taken off during your cleaning and replaced before you leave.

Why did I get this space between my front teeth?

You may see spaces develop as your teeth begin to straighten. Do not worry. Once teeth are aligned, different wires and different styles of elastics will be used to close these spaces and fine-tune the position of your teeth.

Why did my braces break off if I was only eating mashed potatoes?

Sometimes hard foods & candies may have weakened the glue between the bracket and your tooth but they do not immediately break off.  The brace doesn’t necessarily have to be put on the same day but we will book you as soon as possible to replace it.  If it is a couple days till you next appointment, we can replace it then but if it is a few weeks till your next appointment, please call our office and let us know. 

My teeth are loose. Is this OK? Are they going to fall out?

Don’t worry. As teeth move around, they may seem loose but as they are put in the correct position they will stabilize.

How much longer will the braces be on?

Remember, the time we told you is an estimate. Every person is different.  It may take a little longer or it may not take as long.  A lot of what happens depends on the patient.  If you do not wear elastics or do not make your monthly appointments, your treatment may extend.  Please come to your orthodontic appointments every month to ensure we stay on schedule.