Oral hygiene


How should I brush my teeth with braces?

The most common problem with oral hygiene while in braces is that most patients do not spend enough time brushing. Take your time and brush for 3 minutes after every meal and before bedtime. Don’t get rushed, and don’t skip this important step. Red, swollen gums that bleed while brushing or flossing are a sign of infection. If you notice this, you should pay attention to brushing MORE frequently. Do not brush, less, brush longer!!!

Why are my gums swollen or bleeding when I brush my teeth?

Brushing with braces is more difficult. If you do not brush properly, bacteria may cause your gums to become inflamed, which results in red, swollen, or bleeding gums. Pay extra attention to these areas, brushing and flossing more efficiently, and this should improve.


How do I floss my teeth with braces?

Even though it is more difficult than without braces, it is important to floss daily. Use a floss threader to help guide floss underneath the wire and clean in between the two teeth. Then remove the threader and floss move to the next two teeth and floss again. A water flosser can also help you get in those tight spaces

What kind of toothpaste or toothbrush should I be using?

Be sure to brush all surfaces of your braces, teeth, and gums with a soft-bristled toothbrush (electric brushes work well, too!) to remove all food and plaque. Soft-bristled brushes flex better to get around the brackets and wires. WaterPik’s are great too. Use any toothbrush that you like as long as it’s soft.

Use the prescription toothpaste provided by Dr. Hodges while wearing braces. You may have been provided “Plaque HD” toothpaste or a “Clinpro 5000”.

Plaque HD has specific instructions. This toothpaste stains areas that you have missed when brushing. So, place Plaque HD toothpaste on your brush and brush as usual. Then, spit out all the toothpaste. DO NOT RINSE WITH WATER. After spitting, you can look to see which areas are still blue or green. These areas need to be brushed again, but you don’t need more toothpaste. After brushing the second time, spit and check again. Repeat this until all the stain is gone. Then, you can rinse with water.

Clinpro 5000 has a higher level of fluoride to protect those hidden areas from cavities or stains. Use this toothpaste as you would normal toothpaste, especially after meals.



Do you clean my teeth or do I keep seeing my dentist?

Always continue to see your dentist regularly for cleanings and exams during your time in braces. Before certain procedures, we will clean the teeth as needed, and we will always check the cleanliness of your teeth at every appointment, but these are not substitutes for regular appointments with your dentist and the hygienist.


What foods can I eat while I have braces?

Foods that cannot be cleaned off the braces may lead to discoloration and decay of your teeth. Even though your braces and wires are metal, they are fragile and are usually damaged by eating the wrong foods. Hard and sticky foods will break off brackets, bend wires and loosen ban-is, which, in turn, will extend your treatment time. Foods high in sugar content could cause cavities, calcium build-up, and stains on your teeth.

Hard and sticky foods are the general rule of things to avoid. It basically boils down to trying not to put too much pressure on your braces or repetitive flexing of the wires. Sticky foods like bubble gums and taffy-like candies (tootsie rolls, starbursts, etc) are to be avoided. Hard foods like ice, nuts, raw carrots, should also be avoided. We can’t make a list of everything but use good judgement when eating anything that places excessive pressure on your braces.