Dentist observing teeth with braces

Braces can be a game-changer in your quest for a straight, beautiful smile. However, they also create new challenges in maintaining your oral hygiene. Food particles and plaque can easily get trapped in the brackets and wires, making cleaning trickier. But don’t worry! Dentists have effective methods for cleaning teeth with braces, allowing you to maintain a sparkling smile throughout your orthodontic journey.

How do dentists clean teeth with braces?

Professional dental cleaning with braces involves several steps that are designed to clean your teeth thoroughly without damaging the braces. Here are the key steps dentists typically follow when cleaning teeth with braces:

1.     Plaque and tartar removal

Dentists use a small mirror and a hand scaler, a metal instrument with a sharp tip, to gently scrape away plaque and tartar around the brace brackets and under the gum line. They meticulously work around each bracket and wire, ensuring that they remove all plaque and tartar.

2.     Polishing

After scraping, they polish the teeth with a special electric brush and gritty toothpaste. The rotating brush and mildly abrasive paste help to eliminate any remaining plaque or tartar and remove surface stains.

3.     Flossing

Dental flossing of teeth with braces in Toronto

Cleaning between the teeth is especially important when you have braces, but also challenging. Your dentist will use orthodontic floss threaders to guide the floss under the wires and between the teeth, ensuring they clean all areas properly.

4.     Fluoride treatment

Finally, your dentist may provide a fluoride treatment to strengthen your teeth and protect against cavities. You’ll rinse with or have a gel applied to your teeth, providing a protective shield against decay.

Maintaining oral hygiene at home

In addition to regular professional cleanings, maintaining good oral hygiene practices at home is critical when you have braces. Here are a few tips:

1.     Brush regularly and correctly

Brushing with braces can require some adjustments. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. Start by cleaning the braces first, and angling the brush to reach the top and bottom of each bracket. Then, brush the front, back, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.

2.     Don’t forget to floss

Flossing takes more effort with braces, but it’s essential to clean the spaces between the teeth. A floss threader or an orthodontic flosser can help you navigate the wires. Be gentle to avoid hurting your gums or dislodging the braces.

3.     Use fluoride mouthwash

A fluoride mouthwash can provide additional protection against decay. Rinse with mouthwash after brushing and flossing, usually at night, to give your teeth an extra layer of protection.

4.     Regular check-ups

Aim to have regular check-ups with both your dentist and orthodontist to ensure that your braces are clean and in good condition and your oral hygiene is on point. They can spot and address any potential issues early.

Benefits of dental braces: More than just a beautiful smile

For many people, dental braces bring to mind images of awkward teenage years. However, braces are not merely about aesthetics, and they’re not only for teenagers. Braces in Toronto can benefit people of all ages by improving their oral health and overall well-being. Beyond achieving perfectly straight teeth, here are seven crucial benefits of dental braces that you may not have considered.

1.     Improved oral hygiene

Crooked or crowded teeth can make maintaining oral hygiene a challenge. Hard-to-reach areas can become traps for food particles, leading to plaque build-up and potential tooth decay. By aligning your teeth, braces can make it easier to brush and floss effectively, promoting better oral hygiene and preventing cavities.

Happy patient with teeth braces

2.     Prevention of gum disease

When teeth are too widely spaced or crowded, your gums can become more susceptible to periodontal diseases. Braces help to space your teeth correctly, ensuring healthier gums.

3.     Enhanced ability to chew

Misaligned teeth can impair your ability to chew properly, impacting your overall digestion and nutrition. By achieving proper alignment, braces can improve your bite function, allowing you to break down food more effectively.

4.     Correcting speech issues

The alignment of teeth plays a crucial role in speech. Misaligned teeth or a maladjusted bite can cause speech problems such as lisps or difficulties pronouncing certain sounds. By correcting the position of your teeth, braces can also help improve speech abilities.

5.     Reducing wear and trauma

Misaligned teeth can make certain teeth bear the brunt of force when you chew, leading to premature wear. Furthermore, protruding teeth are more prone to accidental breakage. By promoting an even distribution of biting pressure and protecting prominent teeth, braces can prevent unnecessary wear and trauma.

6.     Mitigating jaw pain and headaches

A misaligned bite can place undue stress on your jaw joints, potentially leading to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. This stress can cause chronic jaw discomfort and recurrent headaches. Braces can correct your bite and alleviate these discomforts.

7.     Boosting self-confidence

While is this not a health benefit, the impact of braces on self-confidence is undeniable. A straight, attractive smile can greatly improve your self-esteem and positivity. This psychological benefit can influence many aspects of life, from social interactions to professional confidence.


Having braces doesn’t mean compromising your oral health. With regular professional cleanings and good oral hygiene practices at home, you can keep your teeth sparkling clean throughout the orthodontic treatment process. While cleaning teeth with braces can take a bit more time and effort, the resulting straight, beautiful smile will be well worth it!

Little girl with Toronto braces

So, keep up with your oral hygiene practices, regular dental check-ups, and orthodontic appointments, and look forward to the day when your braces come off to reveal your new, improved smile. If you’re considering orthodontic treatment and teeth cleaning, confer with our dentist at Downtown Dentistry by scheduling an appointment today!

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