Meyer Orthodontics in Brookings Blog

How Do You Floss and Brush With Braces?

Choose the right toothbrush.

We know, we know… flossing is already a pain. But with braces? Is it even possible?

Yes, it is possible, and it’s also very important when you have braces!

Of course they’re both important to your oral health all the time, but you definitely don’t want to skip out on thorough oral hygiene when you have braces.

Here are some of our best tips and tricks for flossing and brushing during your orthodontic treatment.


If you’re not regularly flossing your teeth – braces or not – start today.

When regular flossing becomes habitual, your oral health will be in much better shape. Some of the benefits of flossing include:

  • Preventative dental care – Flossing removes food debris and bacteria from between your teeth, prohibiting bacteria and microorganisms from growing there. (Ew.)  You’ll then be less likely to develop cavities, which can be a whole other can of worms while you have braces.
  • Prevents plaque and tarter buildup – When you don’t floss, plaque will quickly accumulate between your teeth and along your gum line. When it’s not removed, it hardens to tarter. Regular flossing will remove the plaque before it has the chance to become a bigger problem, like gum disease.
  • Prevents bad breathe – Remember that bacteria we talked about? If it hangs out in your mouth too long, it can really start to smell. (Ew, again.) 

How to floss with braces

Even if you’re a dedicated flosser, you may have concerns about doing an effective job during your orthodontic treatment. Here are a few helpful options to help you get the job done quickly and thoroughly:

  • A floss threader – These are really what they sound like! Imagine a needle and thread; the floss is the thread and the floss threader is the needle. With these, you simply thread regular floss through the wide opening of the thin, plastic threader and pull it through under your wires. Then, floss as usual.
  • A water flosser – Also called an oral irrigator, these are excellent for cleaning around braces, and can be more effective than string floss at removing plaque along the gum line.
  • A proxy brush – A proxy brush is a small, flexible brush with small bristles shaped like a pine tree. You can simply insert the brush under your wires and between your teeth, and then scrub to clean. Please note that although helpful in a pinch, proxy brushes are not to be used as a replacement for flossing. They’re just not quite as effective in getting into those hard-to-reach places.


We’re confident that you’re already a committed brusher; you just need to step it up a little bit once you have braces so that you avoid discolored teeth, cavities, and tooth or gum decay.

Once you’ve started your orthodontic treatment, there are a few recommendations we have to make sure you’re really taking the best possible care of your teeth.

  • Brush morning, night, and after each meal. If you can’t brush after you eat, at least rinse with water in the meantime.
  • Avoid whitening products. They can only work on the places where they can touch, which means the part of your tooth under the bracket won’t whiten along with the rest of your tooth. Let’s be honest – once those braces come off, you probably won’t like the look of uneven color.
  • Use the right toothbrush. We recommend using an electric toothbrush; they’re much more effective. If you opt for a regular toothbrush, an orthodontic toothbrush like this will do a nice job with it’s V-trimmed bristle system that can clean in and around your braces. Whichever you choose, Dr. Meyer suggests that you opt for softer bristles and change your electric head or toothbrush out every 3 months.

We hope that these suggestions make brushing and flossing seem less daunting. Remember, it’s important to come in for your regularly scheduled appointments throughout your treatment so we can monitor any issues that may come up.

If you are considering braces for yourself or your child, schedule a free consultation at Meyer Orthodontics in Brookings.