Brushing Teeth With Braces: All You Need to Know

According to a randomized control trial from Morocco, patients with braces, either fixed or removable, can control dental plaque by regularly brushing their teeth and maintaining good oral hygiene.

But, what is the proper way of brushing?

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of brushing, how to brush teeth with fixed and removable braces, the best toothbrush options, and other tips to improve oral health.

Benefits of Brushing

Refusal to regularly brush teeth can cause poor oral hygiene.

Eventually, this can lead to many dental problems. When you brush your teeth, you do not just prevent cavities.

Instead, you allow the following benefits to be introduced to you:

  • Prevents gum diseases gingivitis and periodontitis
  • Prevents bad breath or halitosis
  • Removes or helps in fading stains away
  • Reduces the risk of gut health problems due to bacteria in your mouth being flushed onto your gastrointestinal system

Of course, the toothpaste you use greatly affects the health of your teeth and how these benefits can be acquired.

According to dentists, toothpaste products with the ADA seal of acceptance are highly recommended. 

Products that come with the ADA seal are approved to be safe and effective.

This seal is valuable for consumers to not be confused with the products they should buy.

Lastly, make sure that the toothpaste you buy contains the right amount of fluoride.

According to New York University, too much fluoride can cause fluorosis which can lead to mottled enamel and poor mineralization of teeth.

Proper Way of Brushing Your Teeth with Braces

lady brushing teeth with braces


Brushing seems to be easy, but not for those with braces as food can still get stuck in between your teeth and brackets even after your brush.

So, what is the proper way of brushing your teeth while wearing braces?

1) Brushing with Metal and Ceramic Braces

There are different types of braces and we will first talk about how to properly brush with metal and ceramic braces.

These types of braces use brackets and wires to align your teeth or address your jaw issues.

To brush your teeth with metal braces, ceramic braces, and even lingual braces, you can follow the step-by-step guide below:

  • Brush the outer side of your teeth, especially the part near your gum line.
  • You can begin by biting your teeth and brushing your outside upper teeth in a circular direction.
  • Then, brush your outside lower teeth
  • Proceed by brushing your molars. Opening your mouth a little can help you brush them properly.
  • After your molars, spend around 15-20 seconds brushing each of your brackets.
  • Then, brush the inner side of your teeth in a circular motion. 
  • Proceed to the crowns and brush them in an up-and-down direction. 
  • Clean your tongue and gargle or use a mouthwash after.

Always check your teeth after brushing.

Make sure that there are no plaque or food particles left. It is highly advised to floss before you brush to ensure cleaner teeth.

2) Brushing with Invisible Aligners

According to a study from Lithuania, it is easier to brush teeth for patients using removable braces such as invisible aligners.

Brushing your teeth with these orthodontic devices only requires you to remove them and brush how you naturally do.

However, this is not the end as you also need to care for your invisible aligners.

After you brush your teeth, you should clean your braces following the tips below:

  • Rinse your invisible aligners with water after your brush.
  • You can also brush your invisible aligners using a soft-bristled toothbrush. This toothbrush should be apart from the one you use to brush your teeth.
  • Use a clear, mild liquid soap for your invisible aligners.

Although it is generally required to wear your invisible aligners throughout the day, when you are not using them, you should store them in a protective case.

Toothbrush Options for Braces

If you are wearing braces, there are two ways for you to brush your teeth.

The first one is by using a regular toothbrush and the second one is by using an electric toothbrush.

These two will be discussed further in this section.

1) A regular or manual toothbrush

A manual toothbrush is an effective tool to prevent gingivitis.

If you have braces, it is advised to brush twice a day.

Generally, this toothbrush is more affordable than an electric toothbrush. If you are used to it, you can go anywhere without it as it is very much accessible.

2) An electric toothbrush

Apart from the manual toothbrush, there is also an electric toothbrush.

This type can help you remove plaque and prevents gingivitis as well.

Generally, an electric toothbrush works because of its vibration technique.

Aside from being more effective in removing plaque, there are many benefits to using an electric toothbrush.

Some of these are simplicity of use, built-in timers feature, less waste, and better cleaning of orthodontic devices.

Other Tips to Care for Your Teeth While Wearing Braces

Aside from brushing your teeth, there are other ways to care for your teeth while wearing braces.

Some of these include the following:

  • Replacing your toothbrush regularly, at least every 6 months, when they are worn out, or when you have used them after getting sick
  • Flossing and using mouthwashes
  • Choosing a proper diet and lifestyle

It is also important to visit your dentist regularly.

In case of loose brackets or other dental issues, seek a dental appointment as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your teeth and braces.

Final Thoughts

Indeed, it is easy to brush teeth but this may not be for those with braces.

Patients wearing orthodontic devices require effort to clean and maintain their oral health.

Thus, proper brushing is essential to reduce the duration of treatment.

People with braces can use a regular toothbrush or an electric toothbrush when brushing.

Between these two, the latter is more recommended as it can clean brackets better.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many times should patients with braces brush their teeth?

With or without braces, everyone is encouraged to brush their teeth at least 2-3 times a day. For people with braces, brushing them an hour after every meal is preferred.

Can I brush normally with braces?

Yes, you can brush normally with braces. It is also recommended to brush your brackets thoroughly to avoid plaque buildup.

How many minutes should I brush my teeth with braces?

According to the American Dental Association, patients, with or without braces, should brush their teeth for 2-3 minutes.