How Do I Take Care of My Braces?

So you’ve just gotten your braces—but what exactly do you do with them now? At Windy City Orthodontics, we know your treatment is far from over once you get your appliance. Today, we’ll lay out a comprehensive guide to answer the important question: How do I clean and care for my braces?

Unpacking the Components

Metal and ceramic braces have a few main parts to them. Understanding what they are and what they do are important to practicing proper care.

  • Brackets are attached to your teeth and are made of either metal or ceramic material, depending on our consultation.
  • Wires are the means of applying force to shift your teeth. They connect the entire structure.
  • Bands are used to help secure the wires to the brackets. When you notice people with colorful braces, you’re actually noticing colorful bands.

Cleaning Your Braces

Dr. Pakravan, like all orthodontists, will recommend that any patient with braces keep a kit on hand containing all the necessary tools to clean their braces throughout the day at pivotal times. These kits will usually include items like: 

  • Soft-Bristle Toothbrush
  • Orthodontic Wax
  • Floss Threader
  • Interdental Brush
  • Fluoride Mouthwash
  • Mirror


Now we’ve covered the tools, let’s go over how to put them to use! Completely this entire list of steps will probably not be possible for every single cleaning, but they’re still important guidelines to stick to. The ultimate goal of cleaning is to eliminate bacteria, which is what primarily causes decay when left to its own devices. 

  • Start with a Rinse: Swish some water in your mouth first to initially remove debris.
  • Brush Thoroughly: A soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste are ideal choices here. We suggest brushing at a 45-degree angle to the brackets, paying extra attention to the spaces between the brackets and your gums.
  • Clean Between Brackets: Equally important is cleaning between brackets and wires. Brush between each bracket to remove food and plaque buildup.
  • Floss with Threader/Orthodontic Floss: A floss threader or orthodontic floss can effectively clean the spaces between wires and brackets. Also, floss between each tooth.
  • Water Flosser: A water flosser is a great option for reaching areas that are otherwise hard to get to, with little effort. This can be especially helpful when you have braces and are still learning to care for them, or for when you’re short on time.
  • Fluoride Mouthwash: Alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash is the perfect final step. Swish it around for about thirty seconds and spit it out.
  • Check for Debris: Use your small mirror on hand to examine for any areas that might need further cleaning.
  • Orthodontic Wax: Orthodontic wax can be used as a barrier for sharp edges caused by wires.

How Do I Take Care of My Braces?

Caring For Your Braces

But cleaning is just the start! There are many additional means of caring for your braces. Following good habits and avoiding bad ones can make your experience much more pleasant overall. Let’s go over some of the good ones:

  • Oral Hygiene: We’re mentioning it one more time for good measure! This is truly the foundation of having any orthodontic appliance, but especially one with as many components as a full set of braces. Without maintaining proper hygiene, a lot can and will go wrong.
  • Avoid Certain Foods: Braces are an investment; there’s no arguing about that. So avoiding damage is key! Steer clear of hard, sticky, or chewy foods like popcorn, toffee, or gum. Foods like this can cause damage to the components of your braces and get stuck between them. 
  • Regular Check-Ups: Your treatment with us requires regularly scheduled visits to our office. We use this time to assess progress and address any concerns you might have—so try your best not to miss an appointment! You should also continue to attend your routine cleanings and checkups with your general dentist, as we collaborate with them often. 
  • Follow the Rules: Dr. Pakravan will provide you with further care instructions as a part of your treatment plan—remember that these are rules, not suggestions.
  • Wear a Mouthguard: Sports enthusiasts must always add an additional layer of protection! A mouthguard can most effectively shield your teeth from impact; we can create a bespoke one for protection.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink lots of water, especially after eating sugary or acidic foods. Flushing these particles away ensures they don’t linger and cause decay. 
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet: Foods rich in vitamins and minerals can contribute to your holistic oral health (as well as the rest of your body!).
  • Emergency Kit: Even if you’re trying to travel light, minimize your cleaning essentials to the basics: orthodontic floss, your compact toothbrush and mirror, and orthodontic wax.

How Do I Take Care of My Braces?

Service That Will Blow You Away!

Our team is so proud to serve the Chicago community and provide braces to patients of all ages. As you can see, they can be a lot to take on—but the results are always worth it in the end. Our office can be contacted at (773) 207-3089