How to Care for Your Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment is a journey towards a healthier, more aligned smile. While braces or aligners bring transformative results but require dedicated oral care. Dr. Brian Schowengerdt at Schowengerdt Family Dentistry in Lees Summit, MO, shares essential tips for caring for your teeth during this pivotal phase.

The Importance of Oral Hygiene with Braces or Aligners

Orthodontic appliances can create challenges in maintaining oral hygiene. Brackets and wires of braces can trap food particles, while aligners require cleanliness to function effectively. Proper oral care is crucial to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and staining.

Brushing Techniques with Orthodontic Appliances

Brushing effectively with braces involves specific techniques:

  1. Use a Soft-Bristled Brush: A soft-bristled toothbrush or an orthodontic brush helps clean around braces without damaging them.
  2. Brush After Every Meal: Ensure you brush after each meal to remove trapped food particles.
  3. Angle Your Brush: Brush above and below each bracket with a 45-degree angle approach.
  4. Use Fluoride Toothpaste: Fluoride helps protect the teeth from decay.

For those using Invisalign, remove your aligners for brushing and clean them separately to maintain their clarity and hygiene.

Flossing is Key

Flossing with braces might seem challenging, but it’s essential to reach the areas between teeth and under the wires:

  1. Use Waxed Floss or Floss Threaders: These tools make it easier to navigate around wires and brackets.
  2. Be Gentle but Thorough: Carefully move the floss around each bracket and between teeth.

Rinsing with an Antimicrobial Mouthwash

An antimicrobial mouthwash can help reduce plaque and prevent gingivitis. Rinse daily, especially if you have difficulty flossing thoroughly.

Watching Your Diet

What you eat plays a significant role during orthodontic treatment:

  1. Avoid Hard and Sticky Foods: These can damage braces.
  2. Limit Sugary and Starchy Foods: Reduce the risk of plaque buildup and tooth decay.
  3. Eat Teeth-Friendly Foods: Opt for soft, nutritious foods that are easier on your braces.

Regular Dental Check-Ups and Cleanings

Routine Dental Cleaning & Consultation visits are essential. Professional cleanings can manage plaque and tartar buildup, particularly in hard-to-reach areas.

Managing Discomfort

Orthodontic adjustments can sometimes cause discomfort. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help, as can orthodontic wax to cover any sharp edges on braces.

Caring for Removable Orthodontic Appliances

If you use removable devices like Invisalign aligners or retainers, ensure you clean them as directed. This typically involves brushing them gently with a toothbrush and rinsing with lukewarm water.

Oral Emergencies and Orthodontics

Should you face any oral emergencies, like broken wires or brackets, contact Schowengerdt Family Dentistry promptly for guidance and timely intervention.

Orthodontic treatment requires commitment, not just to the process but also to maintaining oral hygiene. A meticulous oral care routine ensures your orthodontic journey leads to a healthy, beautiful smile.

Schedule Your Orthodontic Care Consultation

Embarking on an orthodontic journey or looking for guidance on oral care during treatment? Contact Dr. Brian Schowengerdt at Schowengerdt Family Dentistry in Lees Summit, MO. Call 816-524-3535 to schedule your consultation and take the first step towards achieving and maintaining a stunning, healthy smile during and after your orthodontic treatment.


  1. American Association of Orthodontists: Oral Hygiene and Braces
  2. Journal of Clinical Orthodontics: Maintaining Oral Health with Braces
  3. International Dental Journal: Oral Care Strategies in Orthodontics