Braces & Your Oral Hygiene Routine

At Doctor Smiles Orthodontics, we understand that you’ll have to go through some lifestyle changes when first acclimating to wearing braces. That’s why when deciding on pursuing orthodontic treatment it is important to choose an orthodontist that will go out of the way to assist you.

Dr. Marisela Bedoya of Doctor Smiles Orthodontics cares about the health and well-being of your smile. So if you’re from Tucson, or one of our neighboring Arizona communities, we hope you’ll consider us for all your orthodontic needs.

To help you prepare for life with braces, Dr. Bedoya has created guidelines on some of the key aspects to be aware of for orthodontic treatment care. These include: brushing, flossing, and watching what you eat.


Good oral hygiene is always important. But it becomes especially significant during orthodontic treatment because you don’t want your teeth to fall victim to decay as you are trying to straighten them. That would negatively impact your final smile. As such, it is important to brush your teeth two to three times a day to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your mouth.

When brushing with braces, you will want to place a small strip of fluoride toothpaste on your toothbrush bristles. When you brush your teeth move your toothbrush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be hidden under your gum line.

You should hold your toothbrush at an angle. Brush slowly and carefully, making sure to cover all areas between your teeth, between your braces, and on the chewing surfaces of each tooth. Also, be sure to brush on the outside and inside of both your upper and lower teeth. It will probably take you several minutes to brush thoroughly.

Don’t forget to rinse your mouth with water after brushing so you don’t swallow any toothpaste. And as soon as the bristles on your toothbrush begin to fray, you should replace your toothbrush with a new one.


There will be areas between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. For those areas use dental floss to remove trapped food particles and plaque. Flossing will take more time and patience while wearing braces, but it is vital you do it every day.

Your orthodontist will provide you with a reusable floss threader so that you can floss under your braces’ archwire more easily. To use the threader, first you’ll pull a small piece of floss from the dispenser through the device. After that slide the piece of floss up and down along the front of each tooth. You will be able to feel when the tooth is clean and hear the squeak of the floss against your teeth. Make sure to use care around your archwire, and try not to exert too much pressure. After you floss between your archwire and braces, you should floss between your other teeth and gums too.

You will want to floss at night so your teeth are clean before going to bed. Note: it’s normal for your gums to bleed a little when you begin flossing around your braces. However, if this persists after the first few times please inform us at your next visit to our Tucson, AZ office.

Foods to Avoid

For a patient new to braces, there are three specific types of foods to be mindful of: foods that are hard, sticky, and/or sugary. Hard foods need to be avoided; they can break or damage wires and brackets. You should also stay away from sticky foods because they can get caught between wires and brackets. Meanwhile, sugary foods cause tooth decay and related problems. Unlike hard and sticky foods though, sugary foods can be eaten, but their consumption needs to be minimized. For example, our orthodontist recommends that you have no more than three sodas or other sugary drinks per week.

Examples of Hard Foods:

  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Hard taco shells
  • French bread crust/rolls (unless broken into smaller pieces)
  • Corn on the cob
  • Apples & carrots (unless cut into smaller pieces)
  • Bagels
  • Chips & popcorn
  • Jolly Ranchers or other hard candies

Examples of Sticky Foods:

  • Gum (sugar-free or regular)
  • Licorice
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramels
  • Starbursts

Examples of Sugary Foods:

  • Cake
  • Ice cream
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Candy

Contact Us!

In the event of a loose bracket or wire, please contact our Tucson orthodontist’s office immediately so we can schedule an appointment to repair it. If you have any other questions about braces, or one of the other services we offer like Invisalign, then reach out to us via our contact page. Thank you! We hope to hear from you soon!