Proper oral hygiene becomes even more important with braces! In our orthodontic offices in Norwalk and Westport, we place a tremendous amount of emphasis on brushing and flossing properly throughout your orthodontic treatment. Improving your overall dental health is the overriding goal of any treatment, including orthodontics.

Your treatment is a team effort, which means you have to do your part to ensure your treatment can proceed without issue. As your braces are working hard to improve your smile, you have to ensure you keep your smile clean to prevent gum disease, cavities, demineralization or white spots during your treatment.


You also must pay close attention to your diet to avoid damaging or breaking your appliances.

Foods to AVOID with braces

  • Extremely hard foods
  • Hard, crusty breads like toasted bagels or pizza crust
  • Nuts
  • Ice
  • Frozen candy bars or frozen cookies
  • Hard chips or pretzels
  • Un-popped popcorn kernels
  • Hard candy
  • Whole apples (cut into small pieces instead)
  • Extremely sticky foods
  • Gum
  • Gummy bears
  • Now-and-Laters
  • Swedish fish
  • Starburst
  • Sugar Daddy
  • Other very sticky candies such as caramels
  • Sugary drinks
  • Sodas
  • Juices
  • Energy drinks (e.g., Red Bull and Monster)
  • Sports drinks (e.g., Gatorade and Powerade)

Brush teeth after meals and snacks, and especially after sugary foods and drinks to remove the acidic layer than can be left on the surface of the teeth.

Brushing with braces

Besides brushing the top of the teeth, you should place the brush where the teeth meet the gums. Then, brush at an angle, allowing the bristles to brush both the gum and the tooth surface next to the gum.

Also, at this angle, the brush will remove any food debris or plaque from under the wire and around the braces. Brushing in this fashion also stimulates the gum and reduces the potential for gum inflammation.

If you are confused, don’t worry: We demonstrate and discuss in detail how to brush properly and thoroughly on the day you get your braces. There are many nooks and crannies that are created by your newly placed braces, so we will be sure you understand proper brushing technique to keep your smile healthy.

Flossing with braces

Many people unfortunately think that flossing is not possible with braces. In reality, excellent instruments exist to make flossing with braces a breeze. We can show you different techniques and provide samples of various products so you can decide which one will work best for you. Many patients find that a water flosser, such as a Waterpik makes flossing easier during orthodontic treatment.

How do we teach proper brushing and flossing?

On the day that you or your child receives braces in one of our offices, we perform a thorough demonstration of proper brushing and flossing techniques. We discuss various techniques and tricks to help you become even more amazing at oral hygiene. You leave with a bag of excellent instruments to use, but not before we show you how to use each one.

Why do some patients have white marks where their braces used to be?

If a patient takes poor care of his or her teeth while undergoing treatment with braces, a potential side effect is white-spot lesions. With proper brushing and flossing, the likelihood of white-spot lesions is essentially eliminated.