May 31, 2021 - minute readminutes read

How to Clean your Teeth with Braces to Keep them Healthy

Many of us will go through orthodontic treatment to realign our teeth at some point in our lives. Tiny orthodontic brackets or wires are usually fitted to the front or back surfaces of the teeth. Over many months or even years, they slowly move the teeth into a better position. 


If you wear braces, then you’ll know that cleaning around and under wires and brackets is extremely hard. You can make it a little easier by adopting a simple 1-2-3 routine: clean between teeth, brush, rinse. Follow our step-by-step guide for some top tips from professionals.

How to floss your teeth with braces

  • Use a specialised floss with a built-in threader such as GUM ORTHO Floss.
  • Insert the rigid end of the floss directly under the appliance.
  • Use the spongy part to clean intermediate elements.
  • Use the normal nylon floss to floss the tooth surface and below the gumline.

How to clean between the teeth

  • Use an interdental brush like GUM TRAV-LER® to clean between the teeth, the wire, and wherever there are larger spaces between the teeth.
  • Make sure you choose the right brush size for the space to be cleaned. Do not force the interdental brush into tight spaces.

How to brush your teeth with braces

  • Choose a specially adapted orthodontic toothbrush, such as the GUM® ORTHO Toothbrush.
  • Use a short back and forth motion to clean all the tooth surfaces above and below your appliance. Brush along the gumline and the biting surface of the teeth as well.
  • As usual, brush for two minutes, two or three times a day.

Use a mouthwash

Finish up your oral care routine by using a mouthwash that contains fluoride to prevent cavities and an antibacterial agent to stop plaque from building up. A mouthwash will also reach areas that you can’t reach with a toothbrush, leaving you with a fresh, clean mouth.

Why is cleaning so important during my orthodontic treatment?

Keeping your mouth clean during your orthodontic treatment can be more difficult and time-consuming than usual. But if it’s not done properly, it might lead to serious issues, as braces act as a trap for food particles and bacteria. 

As you may already know, bacteria are responsible for several oral issues, so if you wear braces you are at risk more than others. These include:

  • Dental plaque build-up. This sticky, pale yellow film on the surface of your teeth is made up of bacteria. If not removed, it can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues.
  • White spots on teeth. When plaques and cavities attack your teeth, the enamel becomes weak and white spots appear – but you will only notice them when your braces are removed.
  • Cavities. Cavities are holes in your teeth. Signs include a brown spot on the surface of your tooth or pain in a tooth. They can lead to tooth decay, pain, infection, or even tooth loss.
  • Gum inflammation. When plaque accumulates between teeth, you might experience swollen, purple, tender, or bleeding gums. This is called gingivitis and it is the first sign of gum disease.
  • Sores and blisters. If a wire brakes or sticks out of a bracket or a band poking your cheek, tongue or gum, painful and uncomfortable sores and blisters can appear and hurt very badly.

Speak to your dentist or orthodontist if you notice any of these symptoms.

Can I use my normal toothbrush during my orthodontic treatment?


You may find that your regular toothbrush just doesn’t quite do the trick when you are wearing an orthodontic appliance.

For a higher level of cleaning, our professionally recommended GUM ORTHO range is adapted to the needs of orthodontic patients. 

It includes solutions for toothbrushing, cleaning between teeth and around brackets (with a special floss or interdental brush), rinsing, and pain relief.