Brushing and flossing are essential steps to maintaining healthy teeth and gums throughout your treatment. Doing so after every meal ensures removal of food particles or plaque build-up that could cause problems in the long run.
Using a soft-bristled, small-headed toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, brush your teeth for two minutes after every meal, making sure the to keep the brush’s head at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. (A powered toothbrush is an effective alternative brush.) Use small circular motions on the outside and inside of your teeth, and move the brush back-and-forth on all chewing surfaces and on the inside of your front teeth. As you do this after every meal, you might start to notice common areas where food gets stuck—focus your attention on your brackets or other appliances that could be trapping pieces.
This can initially seem challenging, but using a floss threader or special orthodontic floss makes sliding floss behind each wire easy. Hold floss taught by wrapping the ends around your pointer fingers, leaving a few inches in between to work between your teeth. Use a back and forth motion between each tooth, making sure to floss both sides beneath the gum line. If this process still leaves bits of food behind, ask about water flossers that could work better around your brackets.