Ask a Dentist

Q: How do I brush my teeth when I have braces?

A: Metal wires and brackets take some getting used to. With a little practice, you’ll be able to clean your teeth normally again.

We recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3 months. Bristles will get more wear and tear from brushing against the metal on your braces. Make at least 10 circles with your brush for each tooth or pair of teeth. To reach all of your teeth, you should take at least two to four minutes to brush.

When it comes to flossing, try an interdental brush. The tiny bristles and small heads can reach between wires and teeth. Use a floss threader or superfloss if you’re having trouble getting the floss underneath the wire.

If you don’t have time to brush after every meal, or you don’t want to overbrush (that can

become harmful over time), then rinse with water after eating. Talk to your dentist and orthodontist about at-home care. They may offer you complimentary interdental brushes, floss threaders, and other tools you may need.