Oral Hygiene

At Smith Smile Orthodontics, our number one priority is ensuring the optimal oral health for each of our patients. Dr. Smith and our dedicated team of trained orthodontic specialists work hard to craft a customized treatment solution for every patient's unique orthodontic needs. The truth is, though, we can't solve everything in the office - what you do at home is just as important as the care you receive from us. Let's talk a bit about what goes into a strong oral hygiene regimen.

Brushing While Wearing Braces

brushingBrushing with braces is similar to brushing regularly, but it requires a bit more diligence to make sure all tooth surfaces are fully cleaned. The metal brackets and wires of braces can trap food particles, which can lead to a build up of plaque and corrosive acids on the teeth. Remember to brush in the morning, before bed, and after every meal. 

To brush your braces correctly, you'll need a good, soft-bristle or bi-layer toothbrush. An electric toothbrush can work as well, but use it on a medium power setting and take care not to hit the back of the toothbrush against your braces. To brush, simple apply a pea-sized drop of fluoridated toothpaste to your brush and use a circular motion to brush the outsides of your teeth. A strong back and forth motion is effective on the chewing surfaces of the molars.

Flossing While Wearing Braces

flossingFlossing is more time consuming with braces, but it's vitally important for proper treatment. Without flossing, you'll be missing a full 30% of the tooth's surface - this can cause a build up of plaque, bacteria, and acid that will eat away at the enamel of your teeth and can eventually sabotage your treatment. You'll only need to floss once a day, and we recommend doing so before bed to ensure your teeth are clean while you sleep.

To get floss under the archwire, you'll need to use a floss threader. Pull your floss through the loop in the threader, and then slide the threader under the archwire of your braces. Once your floss has fit between the archwire and the teeth, you can floss your teeth like you normally would. Repeat this process with a new section of the floss for space between the teeth.


When using a Waterpik, fill the entire container with warm to hot water and follow the gum line slowly in order to clean where the tooth and gum touch. Make sure to get in between the teeth on both the lip and tongue side.

Fluoride Gel (MI Paste “plus”) 

You may want to use a sodium fluoride gel to keep your teeth strong during treatment. Place a small strip of gel on your toothbrush, then apply it to the teeth for one minute. Spit the gel out, then don't eat or drink for 30 minutes afterward. The gel acts to kill bacteria and replace any minerals in the tooth enamel that may have been leached away by acids in food.

Supplements to Your Routine

 In addition to the essentials listed above, there are a few supplements that can be helpful in maintaining oral hygiene. While these don't replace brushing or flossing, they can be great additions to an existing oral hygiene routine. 

Rinsing with Antibacterial Mouthwash

rinsingThis is great for patients who are susceptible to gum inflammation, even after waterpiking twice daily. We think it's a good idea to use a hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse to help clean your gums and cheeks and reduce any inflammation or irritation from your braces. Swish two teaspoons of a 1:1 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water around your mouth for one minute following brushing, up to four times daily. A hydrogen peroxid rinse is a great way to supplement your oral hygiene regimen and keep the inside of your mouth clean and healthy. 


Using an Interdental Toothbrush


interdental toothbrushAn interdental toothbrush, or proxabrush, is a small, pine tree-shaped brush that's very useful for cleaning under and around archwires. You can use it to dislodge bits of food that get stuck in your braces, but remember to be careful to avoid damaging your wires.

Topical Fluoride

topical fluorideWe recommend using a sodium fluoride gel to help prevent tooth decay while you are wearing braces. This gel kills bacteria and replaces minerals in the tooth enamel that have been removed by harmful acids. Using a fluoride gel does not replace daily brushing and flossing, but it should be applied following your daily schedule at bedtime. Place a small strip of the gel on a toothbrush, and apply it to your teeth for one minute. Then spit it out. Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes afterward. It is important for the active ingredient to stay on your teeth for 30 minutes, so do not wash it away by eating, drinking or rinsing.

Cleaning Your Removable Appliance

cleaningIf you're using a removable form of treatment like Invisalign or a retainer, you'll need to clean it just like you do your teeth. Simply brush it every day as a part of your regular schedule and soak it daily in a glass of tap water with a denture-cleaning tablet dissolved in it. This keeps your appliance clean and free from harmful bacteria. 

Contact Your Canton, GA Orthodontist

Have any more questions about proper oral care or your orthodontic health in general? We're here to help. Feel free to reach out to us at our contact page or use our easy online form to schedule an appointment at our Marietta or Canton, GA office. We can't wait to hear from you, and we remind you to brush and floss every day!