By Dr. John White,

Owner of Braces by White

When you have braces, brushing your teeth takes longer and it is technique sensitive.


I recommend that patients spend two to three minutes brushing to make sure their teeth are clean. Think of brushing time as about the same as the length of a song.

Most people without braces don’t brush long enough, but it is even more imperative if you have braces because there are tiny spaces where food particles get trapped and plaque can hide.

If you have a band of plaque around your braces, it will leave a mark when they are removed. However, if you take time to brush correctly, you will avoid enamel staining and tooth decay around brackets.


If possible, brush every time after eating and before bedtime. If it is not possible to brush after every meal, rinse your mouth with water to loosen any food lodged around the braces. You can use a soft-bristle brush, a spin-type brush or a Sonicare.

Follow these steps every time you brush:

• In a circular motion, brush between the brackets and gums.

• Brush the actual braces to clean around the wires by angling down to brush on top of each bracket.

• Brush the tips and backs of your teeth like you normally do, and don’t forget to brush your tongue as well.

I also recommend a couple of tools to use once a day in addition to your toothbrush:

• An interproximial brush behind the wires and between the braces to clean around the wires.

• After brushing, use a floss threader that weaves behind the wire to floss your teeth.

In addition, you can also use a WaterPik to help flush out food between teeth. While it is not a substitute for flossing, it is a simple and quick way to help keep your teeth clean.