Maintaining oral hygiene with braces

Whether you have fixed braces, clear aligners for discreet teeth straightening, or no need for orthodontic treatment at all, maintaining good oral hygiene remains important for your dental and overall health and wellbeing. People undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces need to take extra care to uphold a thorough oral health routine, as braces often create more nooks and crannies in which tooth-damaging bacteria can grow.

It might take a little longer and may require a little more work to keep your teeth in tip-top condition when wearing braces. However, if you want your teeth to look and feel at their best when your teeth straightening journey comes to an end, putting in the effort to raise your oral hygiene routine is absolutely essential.


Why is oral hygiene important?

Keeping your oral hygiene in check will help you prevent gum disease, bad breath and tooth decay that can lead to damaged, loose or failing teeth, as well as plenty of discomfort and the need for additional dental treatment and attention.

Failing to brush for at least two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste will allow the buildup of bacteria which forms into plaque. This damages the tooth enamel and can lead to a range of health problems.

Before any orthodontic treatment begins, your orthodontist will thoroughly check your mouth and gums to ensure your teeth are in a fit state to be straightened. If there are any signs of disease, infection or decay, the process of straightening teeth - which applies consistent pressure to permanently move them in the mouth - can be dangerous, leading to damaged teeth and gums, or issues with the jawbone and supporting structure of the teeth.

As well as this, failure to maintain good oral hygiene while wearing braces can lead to gum disease, decay or infections during the treatment. If this occurs, your orthodontist will have no choice but to stop the treatment early, potentially delaying your new straighter and more confident smile by a considerable length of time.

How do you maintain good oral hygiene when wearing braces?

Your oral hygiene routine when wearing braces isn’t considerably different to what you were doing before - you’ll still need to brush, floss and visit the dentist regularly. You’ll need to use a slightly different technique when flossing or brushing with braces, but it won’t be difficult to get used to.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s teeth straightening journey is different, and if you have any questions or concerns regarding keeping your teeth and gums healthy when wearing braces, your orthodontist will be happy to provide tailored advice.

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to maintaining oral hygiene when wearing braces:

Do I still need to visit the dentist when wearing braces?

A lot of people think that, because you visit the orthodontist regularly when you’re having teeth straightening treatment, you no longer need to stick to your dentist check-up routine.

However, going to the orthodontist isn’t the same as visiting the dentist and dental hygienist. While our specialist orthodontists will be able to spot signs of gum disease or tooth decay, and can provide advice on how to maintain good oral health, your regular general dentist appointments are still important for a more thorough check-up and to spot any early warning signs of oral health issues before they become more serious.

How often should I change my toothbrush?

Excellent oral hygiene requires the right tools for the job. If your toothbrush is looking a bit tired and the bristles are worn, it’s high time to pick up a replacement.

Most dentists would recommend switching up your toothbrush every three months, but people with fixed braces often find that their toothbrushes show signs of wear more quickly. If you opt for an electric toothbrush, you’ll need to replace the head when the bristles are no longer straight to maximise their cleaning potential.