Brushing and Flossing With Braces

Brushing and flossing your teeth can become a learning curve when you start your orthodontic treatment. Making sure you continue a good oral hygiene regimen is critical, especially when it comes to having braces, or Invisalign. 

The SKS Orthodontics team has been creating beautiful smiles in the Fayetteville, Fulton, and Syracuse areas for over 60 years. We’re proud to treat a wide range of orthodontic problems with expert treatments, including Invisalign, metal braces, and more. Teaching you just how to take care of your braces or Invisalign is all part of the orthodontic journey.

Brushing With Braces

No matter which type of braces you choose, there will be a small period of adjustment when they are first placed on your teeth. There will also be a big change in the way you are able to brush and floss your teeth. Here are some important tips to help you maintain proper oral health habits with braces:

  • Brush after every meal — The SKS Orthodontics team recommends that you brush your teeth after every meal when you have braces. We know this sounds like a lot, but brushing after every meal will reduce the risk of food and plaque buildup between the teeth and braces. We also recommend to start packing a toothbrush with you on the go.
  • Brush for the proper amount of time— With clear or metal braces, it’s very important to spend at least two minutes brushing to properly clean your teeth and remove any food particles or buildup. Setting a timer or listening to music can help make the time go by quicker, and will help make sure that you have been brushing for the recommended amount of time.
  • Find the right toothbrush— There are quite a lot of different toothbrush options out there, so it can be difficult to know which one works best for you and your braces. Our Syracuse orthodontic team recommends using a soft-bristled, small-headed toothbrush, and pairing it with a fluoride toothpaste. If you would like to bump up your brushing regime, you can also use an electric orthodontic toothbrush for more effective cleaning.
  • Changing your toothbrush regularly — Did you know that you should be changing your toothbrush every three to four months? If you haven’t been doing so, getting braces would be the perfect time to start doing so. Changing every few months is great because once the bristles on your toothbrush become frayed, you will no longer be cleaning your teeth as effectively as you should be.
  • Create a system with brushing— When you are brushing your braces, develop a system for yourself so that you are able to make sure that you are brushing each tooth correctly and thoroughly. Start with brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth using small, gentle circular motions with the head of the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Begin on one side of your mouth, and brush each tooth carefully. Then, move on to the bottom of your mouth, making sure to go all the way down to your gum line. Finally, brush the top surfaces of your teeth with short, gentle back-and-forth motions. Make sure you are paying close attention to the areas of your teeth around your brackets, because that is where food buildup is most likely to occur. 

Flossing With Braces

Flossing is a crucial step in keeping your mouth clean and becomes even more crucial when you have braces. With braces, it’s very easy for food particles to get stuck in and around your teeth, brackets, and wires. If you aren’t brushing and flossing properly, food and bacteria can develop plaque around your brackets and lead to gum disease and further issues with your braces. Flossing after every meal will help prevent this, which will in turn help keep your treatment time on track. When flossing, we have some tips to keep in mind:

  • Floss more often— The SKS orthodontist team recommends that you floss just as often as you should be brushing with braces, which is after every meal. Flossing after every meal will allow you to remove any food stuck between the braces or teeth, and prevent plaque buildup from occurring. 
  • Find the right floss— Flossing around the brackets and wires of your braces can be extremely challenging, but there are special tools that make this process quite easy. During your visit, we will show you how to use a floss threader, and provide you with special floss that makes it easier to get around the braces and floss properly. 
  • Flossing steps— Once you thread the floss under your archwire, wrap the ends of the floss around your pointer fingers of both hands, leaving a few inches of floss between them. Gently slide the floss between each set of teeth using a careful back-and-forth motion. Make sure to floss the sides of each tooth beneath the gum line to remove any plaque and food particles. Repeat this process until you have flossed all of your teeth.​
  • Consider a water flosser— If you notice that the floss threader or regular floss isn’t removing all of the food in between your teeth and braces, we recommend trying out a water flosser. A water flosser uses water to floss between your teeth, which can be proven to be more effective when flossing with braces. 

How To Brush & Floss With Aligners

Many patients choose our Invisalign or Invisalign Teen orthodontic treatment. Our orthodontists here at SKS Orthodontics are the only Top 1% Invisalign provider in Central New York, treating more Invisalign patients than 99% of the other Invisalign providers in North America! If you’ve chosen Invisalign or Invisalign Teen as your treatment, brushing and flossing will be very easy for you.

  • Brush and floss normally— Brushing and flossing with aligners is the same as how you would normally brush and floss your teeth. Before starting your routine, make sure to remove your aligners and set them in a safe location. We still recommend flossing with wax-coated floss, but the procedure is not as complicated since there are no wires to thread floss underneath.
  • Brush and clean your aligners—You will be wearing your Invisalign aligners 22 hours a day, only removing them for eating. That makes it especially important to clean your aligners each time you remove them. The team at SKS recommends brushing your aligners gently with fluoride toothpaste, being careful not to scratch the plastic. Then, rinse your aligners with cool water before putting them back in your mouth.​​​
  • Soak your aligners— Try soaking your aligners in denture cleaner, a baking soda mixture, or our special aligner clear to give them a nice fresh feel. You can soak them every couple of days, making your aligners feel nice and new. 

Contact Your Syracuse Orthodontist!

Knowing how to brush and floss with braces and aligners, and just how often, will ensure that you are taking the right steps to maintain the health of your teeth and gums. Whether you decide on clear braces, metal braces, or Invisalign for your orthodontic journey, good oral hygiene is crucial to maintaining a healthy smile, during and after your treatment.

As your Fayetteville, Fulton, and Syracuse orthodontist, the SKS Orthodontics team is here to help you keep your braces and aligners clean and well-maintained so that your treatment will stay on schedule. If you have any questions about brushing and flossing, or if you’re ready to transform your smile with braces or Invisalign, give us a call today at (315) 458-0020, or book an appointment at one of our offices. We can’t wait to hear from you and help you stay on track toward your new, beautiful smile!

Ready to transform your smile?

Our Locations


404 E. Genesee St.
Fayetteville, NY 13066
(315) 458-0020

North Syracuse

7334 Buckley Rd.
North Syracuse, NY 13212
(315) 458-0020


633 W. Third St.
Fulton, NY 13069
(315) 458-0020

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