10 Tips for Maintaining Oral Hygiene with Braces or Aligners

Published on 14/05/2024 by admin

Filed under Anesthesiology

Last modified 14/05/2024

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Oral hygiene is crucial, especially for those who use braces or aligners to enhance their smiles. In Minnetonka, Minnesota, a community that prides itself on fostering a healthy lifestyle, maintaining dental health is a key part of overall well-being. Given the complexity braces and aligners add to dental care routines, it’s essential to adopt specific hygiene practices to prevent issues like cavities and gum disease. Residents of Minnetonka have access to excellent dental services that can help manage these challenges effectively. In this blog, we will share 10 tips to help you maintain optimal oral hygiene with your braces or aligners, ensuring your dental treatment is successful and your smile stays bright.

1. Understanding Your Dental Appliances

Braces and aligners are sophisticated dental devices designed to correct various alignment issues. Knowing the type of appliance you have is the first step toward effective care. Each type—be it metal braces, ceramic braces, or clear aligners—requires a slightly different approach to maintenance. For instance, braces may trap food particles more readily than aligners, which are removable and easier to clean. It’s important to follow the specific cleaning instructions provided by your orthodontist to avoid damaging your appliance. Understanding these details ensures you maintain your oral health throughout your orthodontic treatment.

2. Regular Brushing Techniques

With braces or aligners, brushing your teeth effectively becomes more challenging but also more important. It is advisable to brush after every meal to ensure that food particles and plaque do not get trapped in the braces. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that can gently clean around the brackets and along the gum line. A fluoride toothpaste will help in preventing decay and strengthening areas weakened by the presence of braces. Brushing at a 45-degree angle ensures that both the surface of the teeth and the gum line are properly cleaned. Consistent, thorough brushing prevents common problems such as cavities and gingivitis during orthodontic treatment.

3. Regular Orthodontist Visits

Keeping regular appointments with your orthodontist is vital for the success of your orthodontic treatment. These check-ups allow for adjustments to your braces or aligners, ensuring they are working as intended. Your orthodontist can also monitor your oral hygiene and make recommendations to prevent dental issues. During these visits, any concerns about discomfort or appliance care can be addressed directly. Regular feedback from a professional helps refine your care routine and keeps your treatment on track for the best results. To find the best person for the job, look up Minnetonka orthodontist near me online to find highly rated professionals in your area. Checking reviews and qualifications online will help you choose an orthodontist who is well-suited to manage your treatment effectively. 

4. Choosing the Right Dental Products

Selecting appropriate dental care products is vital for anyone with braces or aligners. Look for products specifically designed for orthodontic care, such as toothbrushes with smaller heads or brushes specifically shaped to fit around brackets and wires. An interdental brush becomes a necessity for getting into the nooks and crannies around braces. Always ensure the products you choose do not damage your braces or aligners and effectively contribute to your oral hygiene.

4. The Role of Flossing

Flossing with braces is undoubtedly more time-consuming but cannot be overlooked. Using a floss threader allows you to get the dental floss under the wires and reach the gum line and the spaces between the teeth. Water flossers are another excellent option, providing a convenient and effective way to clean around braces and reduce plaque buildup. Regular flossing prevents gum disease and tooth decay, which are risks increased by the presence of braces. It’s recommended to floss at least once a day, ideally before bedtime, to ensure your teeth are thoroughly cleaned at the end of the day. This habit is crucial for maintaining long-term dental health during orthodontic treatment.

5. Rinsing with an Antimicrobial Mouthwash

Adding a mouthwash to your daily dental routine can significantly improve oral hygiene with braces or aligners. An antimicrobial mouthwash helps reduce the bacterial load in the mouth, combating plaque formation. It reaches areas that brushing and flossing might miss, providing an additional layer of protection against tooth decay and gum disease. Swishing with mouthwash for 30 seconds after brushing and flossing can help remove any remaining debris and enhance oral health. 

6. Watching Your Diet

What you eat plays a significant role in maintaining oral hygiene when you have braces or aligners. Sticky, hard, or chewy foods can damage orthodontic appliances and should be avoided. Foods high in sugar can increase the risk of plaque buildup and cavities, particularly when cleaning around braces is challenging. Incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins into your diet supports oral health and overall well-being. 

7. Handling Aligners Properly

Proper care of aligners is essential for maintaining oral hygiene and ensuring their effectiveness. It’s important to regularly clean your aligners just as you would your own teeth to prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque. Use a gentle, non-abrasive cleaner and avoid hot water, which can warp the material. Always remove your aligners when eating or drinking anything other than water to prevent staining and damage. Rinse them before placing them back in your mouth, and store them safely when not in use. This routine not only preserves the quality of the aligners but also supports overall oral health.

8. Dealing with Emergencies

Even with careful maintenance, emergencies can occur with orthodontic appliances. Common issues include loose brackets, broken wires, or discomfort from new adjustments. Should these arise, it is advisable to contact your orthodontist immediately for advice. Avoid attempting to fix any problems yourself, as improper handling might exacerbate the issue. For temporary relief, dental wax can help cover sharp edges until you can see your orthodontist. 

10. Using Orthodontic Wax

Orthodontic wax is a helpful tool for anyone with braces. It provides a protective barrier that prevents brackets and wires from irritating your gums and the inside of your mouth. Applying a small amount of wax can offer immediate relief from discomfort caused by braces. It is especially useful in the early days of treatment or when adjustments are made. The wax is easy to apply, and safe to use as often as needed. Learning to use dental wax effectively is a simple yet impactful way to improve your orthodontic experience.


Maintaining oral hygiene while wearing braces or aligners is crucial for ensuring that when the orthodontic devices come off, your smile is as healthy as it is beautiful. Adapting your dental care routine to include the tips shared can significantly reduce the risk of developing issues like cavities or gum disease, which are common concerns for orthodontic patients. By investing time in thorough cleaning and being mindful of the foods you eat, you are not only protecting your dental health but also ensuring that your orthodontic treatment delivers the best possible results. This proactive approach will keep your smile bright and healthy throughout your treatment and beyond.