Braces Care: Effective Tips and Tricks for Maintenance

October 10, 2023

Are you on a journey to achieve that picture-perfect smile with the help of braces? Well, you're not alone. Millions of individuals, both young and old, wear braces to fix misaligned teeth and improve their dental health.

However, having braces requires a commitment to maintenance in order to ensure they do their job effectively without causing any additional issues like cavities or gum disease.

The importance of maintaining your braces cannot be overstated. Not only does good maintenance keep your oral hygiene in check, but it also ensures that your orthodontic treatment progresses smoothly and within the expected timeframe. 

It's all about establishing a routine that works for you and sticking to it, no matter how busy life gets.

Why Is Braces Maintenance Important?

Embarking on the journey to a straighter smile with braces is indeed a significant step, but it's only a part of the equation. 

The other crucial part is braces maintenance, which is instrumental in ensuring that your orthodontic treatment is a success. But why exactly is maintaining your braces so vital? Let's break it down:

1. Oral Health

Braces come with numerous nooks and crannies where food particles and plaque can hide, making diligent cleaning a necessity. Without proper care, you risk developing cavities, gum disease, or other dental issues which could extend your treatment time or create additional oral health problems.

2. Treatment Efficiency

Keeping your braces well-maintained ensures they work as efficiently as possible. Any broken brackets or wires can set back your progress, making it essential to follow your orthodontist’s advice on care to the letter.


Well-maintained braces are more comfortable. They are less likely to cause irritation or discomfort when kept clean and in good repair. Following a good maintenance routine can help prevent issues like wire poking or bracket rubbing.

4. Cost:

Over the long term, proper maintenance can save you money. Replacing broken parts or treating dental issues that arise from poor hygiene can add unexpected costs to your treatment.

5. Aesthetic Appeal

Let's face it, braces filled with food particles are not a pleasing sight. Regular cleaning keeps your braces looking good and your smile as attractive as possible, even during treatment.

6. Shortened Treatment Time

In some cases, diligent care and maintenance of your braces can potentially shorten your treatment time. When braces are kept in good condition and adjustments are made as scheduled, the desired results may be achieved sooner.

7. Preparation for a Lifetime of Good Oral Hygiene

The habits you develop while caring for your braces can set the stage for a lifetime of good oral hygiene habits. Learning to navigate around wires and brackets to keep your mouth clean can make post-braces oral hygiene a breeze.

Daily Cleaning Routine for Braces

Achieving that ideal alignment with braces is an exciting prospect, but remember, your braces are essentially a long-term guest in your mouth. They require a warm welcome and ongoing attention to ensure they function optimally.

A significant part of this attention is your daily cleaning routine. Let’s explore some fundamental steps to keep your braces clean and effective every day:

1. Brushing with Braces

Ideally, you should brush after every meal to prevent food particles from lodging in your braces. However, brushing at least twice a day is a bare minimum. 

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Start by brushing at a 45-degree angle at the gum line, then clean each bracket by brushing downwards on the upper teeth and upwards on the lower teeth.

Consider using an interdental toothbrush to navigate those hard-to-reach areas around wires and brackets.

2. Flossing with Braces

Flossing once a day is crucial to remove plaque and food particles that your toothbrush might miss.

Use a floss threader or orthodontic floss to thread the floss under the wire of your braces. Gently move the floss up and down along the sides of both teeth, making sure to go below the gumline.

Water flossers are a great alternative for those who find traditional flossing too time-consuming or difficult.

3. Rinsing

Rinsing your mouth with water or a fluoride mouthwash after each meal will help dislodge any food particles that may be stuck in and around your braces.

4. Orthodontic Check-ups

Adhere to your orthodontist’s recommended schedule for check-ups and adjustments. These visits are crucial for tracking your progress and addressing any issues with your braces.

**5. Eating Right:

Maintain a braces-friendly diet by avoiding hard, sticky, or overly chewy foods. Opt for softer foods and cut items into bite-sized pieces to minimize the risk of damaging your braces.

6. Specialized Cleaning Tools

There are various tools available, like orthodontic brushes and flossers, designed to make cleaning around braces easier. Utilize these tools to ensure a thorough cleaning.

Adopting a meticulous daily cleaning routine will pay off in spades by keeping your braces, teeth, and gums healthy. The extra time and effort invested in cleaning will contribute to a smoother, quicker orthodontic journey, propelling you faster towards the day when your braces come off to reveal a beautifully straight smile. 

The key is consistency and making these cleaning steps a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. Your future self, flaunting a flawless smile, will thank you for it!

Foods to Avoid with Braces

Yes, those brackets and wires are sturdy, but they aren't invincible. Certain foods can either damage your braces or become a nuisance by getting trapped. 

Let's navigate through the culinary landscape to identify which foods are best left off the plate while you're sporting braces:

Hard Foods:

  • Ice: It's a no-brainer, but crunching on ice cubes is a risky business for your braces.
  • Nuts and Seeds: These small, hard morsels can cause significant damage to your brackets and wires.
  • Hard Vegetables and Fruits: Items like raw carrots or apples should be cut into smaller, manageable pieces before consuming.
  • Hard Breads: A crispy baguette or a hard pretzel can be harsh on your braces, so opt for softer bread options.

Sticky Foods:

  • Gum: Chewing gum can become entangled in your braces leading to a cleaning nightmare.
  • Caramel and Toffee: The sticky nature of these sweets can pull at your brackets and wires.

Chewy Foods:

  • Bagels and Pizza Crust: Chewy bread can be tough on your braces, potentially bending or breaking them.
  • Gummy Candy: Besides being a sugar bomb, gummy candies can get stuck in your braces, making cleaning a hassle.

Sugary Foods and Drinks:

  • Soda and Sugary Juices: The sugar and acid in these beverages can lead to plaque buildup and tooth decay.
  • Candy and Sweets: Sugar is a foe to your dental health, especially when braces create more crevices for sugar to hide.


  • The kernels can easily get lodged in your braces, and the hard un-popped kernels can cause breakage.

Making mindful dietary choices and avoiding certain foods can significantly ease your braces journey. It's all about safeguarding your investment in your smile. Every time you're tempted, remember the end goal - a perfect, straight smile that radiates confidence. It's a small sacrifice for a big reward that will serve you for a lifetime.

Dealing with Common Braces Problems

Just like any journey, the road to a perfect smile with braces may have its fair share of small bumps and minor hitches. Though these issues are commonplace, knowing how to deal with them can make your orthodontic journey smoother and more comfortable. 

Here’s a rundown of common braces problems and how to tackle them:

  • Irritation and Sores: Brackets, wires, and other orthodontic appliances can cause irritation to your lips, cheeks, and tongue, especially in the initial days. Using orthodontic wax to cover any sharp edges can provide relief. Over time, your mouth will build up more tolerance to these irritants.
  • Loose or Broken Brackets, Bands, or Wires: If a bracket comes loose or a wire breaks, it’s crucial to get in touch with your orthodontist promptly. In the meantime, use orthodontic wax to hold the loose bracket or to cover the sharp end of a wire to prevent it from poking you.
  • Wire Poking: A wire poking out can be quite uncomfortable. Try using the eraser end of a pencil to gently push the wire back into place, or cover it with orthodontic wax. If it continues to bother you, contact your orthodontist for an adjustment.
  • Food Stuck in Braces: It’s common to get food stuck in braces. Rinsing with water or using an interdental brush can help dislodge food particles.
  • Tooth Discomfort or Looseness: It’s normal to experience some tooth soreness or looseness, especially after adjustments. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can help alleviate discomfort. If the pain persists, consult with your orthodontist.
  • Lost Spacers: If a spacer falls out, contact your orthodontist to see if it needs to be replaced.
  • Difficulty in Cleaning: If you’re having trouble keeping your teeth clean, consider investing in specialized cleaning tools like water flossers or interdental brushes, and don’t hesitate to ask your orthodontist for additional cleaning tips.
  • Speech Difficulties: Initially, braces might affect your speech. Practice speaking and reading aloud to get accustomed to talking with braces.
  • Bad Breath: Maintain a rigorous cleaning routine to prevent bad breath. If the issue persists, consult with your orthodontist to rule out any other underlying problems.

Proper maintenance is key to a hassle-free braces journey. Equip yourself with the right care routine to ensure a smooth path to that perfect smile. 

At Merrifield Ortho, we're here to assist you every step of the way. Ready to progress on your orthodontic journey? Schedule your appointment with Merrifield Ortho today!

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2843 Hartland Rd., Suite 100, Falls Church, VA 22043

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