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Brushing & flossing with braces

Brushing & flossing

You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food compacts in the brackets and between your teeth, and can only be removed by brushing and flossing. If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it will leave a permanent white scar on the surface.  This is called decalcification and it looks unsightly.

To avoid these stains you should have excellent oral hygiene. Brushing after meals should become part of your daily schedule. Use a soft toothbrush with medium to gentle pressure and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth; brush in small circles above and below the brackets. The space between the brackets and the gum must be cleaned well with persistent gentle pressure.

If your gums bleed on brushing contact our office on 01329 284419. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your braces, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray. A waterpik can be a useful addition but it cannot remove the sticky plaque that adheres to the teeth. Interplak toothbrushes are great. Flossing is important and should be done every day. The floss threaders are reusable.

Brush after every meal.

  1. Use a toothbrush with a small amount of toothpaste.
  2. Use circular, vibrating motions around the gumline for about 10 seconds on each tooth.
  3. Brush every tooth slowly.
  4. Brush the lower teeth up and the upper teeth down. Also brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth.

Floss nightly after brushing to remove the plaque missed by brushing.

  1. Carefully pull waxed floss between wire and braces.
  2. Floss carefully around the braces.
  3. Floss carefully around the gum area.
  4. Floss around each tooth

Eating Habits

Please do not eat hard foods: nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples, carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spareribs, corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating), and popcorn! These foods risk breaking brackets and wires. Also beware of nail biting and pen or pencil chewing habits, since these can damage your braces. Do not eat sticky foods: taffy, caramels, bubble gum, or sticky candy of any sort. A small piece of sugarless gum occasionally is acceptable. Use common sense about most foods. 

Absolutely No:


  • Chewing gum can break the brace

Sticky Foods:

  • Caramel
  • Licorice
  • Toffee

Hard Foods:

  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Bagels
  • Apples unless sliced 
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Pizza Crusts
  • Doritos
  • Pretzels

Regulate Sugar Intake 

NEVER have sugar or sugar-containing foods/drinks between meals. If you do have any sugar between meals then you may get a white or brown scars permanently marked on the teeth. This is called decalcification and it looks unsightly. To avoid this problem when wearing a brace you should avoid ALL sugar between meals and never have acidic (tangy) or fizzy drinks at any time. Look on the packaging to see if sugar is in the food. It will say “Carbohydrates….of which sugars…=x per cent”. Unless this percentage is zero you can not eat it between meals when wearing a brace. Have three main meals per day at which you can have sugar-containing foods. There must be no more than three intakes of sugar per day to allow the mouth to repair the harm that sugar does to teeth. Provided you give your teeth time to recover from sugar attack between meals then no harm will occur to the enamel and you can enjoy the sugar at meal times. The amount of sugar eaten is much less important than WHEN you eat it. So avoid all sugar-containing foods between meals and your teeth will stay healthy throughout life, long after your braces are removed.


Check braces once a week for anything loose or bent. If a bracket or band comes loose or you break a wire, please call our office so that we can arrange an appointment long enough to repair it. Try to explain what has happened by using the diagram provided. Be as specific as possible with the receptionist. If you lose your rubber bands, call us so we can mail you some more or drop by the office and pick some up.

Sore Teeth

After braces are placed in the mouth it is normal for the teeth to be sore for about 2 or 3 days. Tylenol or Advil will help relieve this discomfort. Some irritation to the cheeks and tongue is normal, but if you feel anything sharp is poking you or any sores are developing, please call our office at 01329 284 419 .


Attached to your braces, elastics (rubber bands) exert the proper force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth. In order for this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the time and changed every day. Any time missed in wearing your elastics will only make your treatment take longer, so remember these things: 

You are responsible for placing the elastics on your braces between appointments. Make sure to wear them as instructed. Remove them only when brushing your teeth, gums and braces after meals. Then put them back on immediately.

Always carry a few elastics with you, so if one breaks you can replace it right away. If your supply is low, call the office and we will mail you an additional supply of elastics. 

If you forget to insert your elastics one day, don't double up the next day — just follow your regular instructions.

Elastics become worn out. When they lose their elasticity, they don't provide the proper pressure on your teeth and jaws. It is very important to change them as directed, even when they are not broken.

If your elastics break frequently, a wire or band loosens, or a hook breaks off — call our office immediately. Don't wait until your next appointment. These problems need to be corrected as soon as possible!

Removable Appliances

The removable appliance is carefully designed to move or to hold your teeth. It is important that it is worn according to instructions and brought to each appointment.
Wear your appliance at all times, even while you are asleep. It may be removed while eating, swimming, or playing vigorous sports activities. In two or three days your speech will return to normal with the appliance in place. Avoid flipping your appliance with your tongue. This can cause damage to your teeth or breakage of your appliance.
Your new appliance may make your teeth sore for a day or two, especially after an adjustment. If you have a sore spot on your gums call our office so that we can adjust the appliance.

Clean your appliance by brushing it daily with toothpaste. Denture cleaner can also be used for a more thorough cleaning. If you are wearing a bonded wire retainer behind your front teeth, be extra careful to clean the wire and the area around it. Flossing should be done every day.

Never wrap your appliance in a paper napkin or tissue and set it down on the table. You or someone else may throw it away. Don't put it in your pocket when playing or you may break or lose it. Whenever it is not in your mouth it should be in its plastic appliance case.

Keep your appliance away from dogs or cats as they love to chew on them. Avoid storing them near any source of heat. Do not boil your retainer to sterilize it! If needed, bring it to the office and we will be happy to disinfect it for you.

An additional charge will be incurred for lost or broken appliances.

It's time for you to smile!

  • I’d like to be informed of exclusive offers and other practice information YES
  • *By clicking ‘I'm ready to smile. Please call me!’ you are consenting to us replying, and storing your details. (see our privacy policy).