Dental Education

Cavity Prevention: Best Practices for Maintaining Oral Health with Braces



Orthodontic treatment with braces can greatly improve one’s smile, but it can also pose challenges to oral health and cavity prevention. When wearing braces, food particles can easily get stuck in the brackets and wires, leading to plaque and bacteria buildup that can ultimately cause cavities and other dental problems. Therefore, it is key to maintain good oral hygiene practices during orthodontic treatment to prevent these issues. This article will provide best practices for cavity prevention when wearing braces.

Brushing Techniques for Braces

Braces can make it more challenging to clean your teeth effectively, but with the right tools and technique, keeping your teeth and gums healthy is still possible.

Tooth brushing

The proper brushing technique for braces involves using a toothbrush that is soft-bristled at a 45-degree angle to clean around the brackets and wires. Start by brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth, moving the brush in small circular motions. Then, angle the brush downward to clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth, using gentle back-and-forth strokes. Be gentle when brushing around your braces to avoid damaging them or making them less effective.


When selecting toothpaste, look for fluoride-based toothpaste that can help strengthen your teeth. Avoid whitening toothpaste or anything abrasive that could damage the brackets or wires.


Brushing your teeth is ideal after every meal for two minutes, as well as before bed and first thing in the morning. It will help prevent plaque buildup and keep your teeth and braces clean. If brushing after every meal isn’t possible, rinse your mouth with water or use an interdental brush to remove any food particles.

Flossing Techniques for Braces

Flossing can be challenging with braces, but keeping your teeth and gums healthy is essential. Here are techniques you can use to floss with braces:

Floss threader

It is a small plastic tool to help you thread floss under your brace’s wires. Insert the floss through the loop of the threader, then push the threader under the wire and pull it through. It will allow you to floss each tooth and remove food particles and plaque buildup.

Interdental brushes

Interdental brushes are small brushes that can fit between the brace’s brackets and wires. Use the brush to clean between each tooth and around the brackets to remove any debris that may have accumulated.

Frequency of flossing

With braces, it’s important to floss at least once daily to prevent food and bacteria from getting trapped in hard-to-reach areas. If your braces are causing discomfort, consider using an oral irrigation device to clean your teeth and gums.

Food and Drink Considerations

Having braces can be a challenging experience, especially when it comes to eating. Certain foods can damage your braces and prolong the treatment process. Here are some food considerations with braces:

Foods to avoid

  • Sticky and chewy foods: Gum, caramel, taffy, and gummy bears can all get stuck in your braces and cause damage.

  • Hard foods: Popcorn, nuts, hard candy, ice, and raw vegetables (such as carrots and apples) can all damage your braces.

  • Sugary foods: It contributes to tooth decay and makes it more difficult to clean your braces.

Best foods to eat

  • Soft foods: Cooked vegetables, soups, yoghurt, and bananas are great options that won’t damage your braces.

  • Protein-rich foods: Meat, fish, and tofu are healthy sources of protein that won’t harm your braces.

  • Grains: Cooked pasta, soft bread, and rice are all good choices for those with braces.

Drinks to avoid

  • Sugary drinks: Soda, juice, energy drinks, and sports drinks contain high sugar that can increase your risk of tooth decay.

  • Acidic drinks: Citrus juices and carbonated drinks erode your tooth enamel and make it more sensitive.

Best drinks to consume

  • Water: Plenty of water is essential for maintaining good oral health and hydration.

  • Milk: Milk is a source of calcium that help strengthen your teeth and bones.

  • Herbal tea: Chamomile and peppermint are low in acid and sugar and can help soothe your mouth.

Regular Check-ups and Cleaning

Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are crucial during orthodontic treatment because braces create more places for plaque and food particles to accumulate. Bacteria can take hold if left unattended, leading to tooth cavities, bad breath, and gum disease.



The recommended frequency of dental check-ups during orthodontic treatment can vary depending on age, oral health, and the type of braces being worn. However, most orthodontists recommend that patients visit their dentists twice yearly for a cleaning and check-up.

During these visits, the dentist or hygienist will examine the teeth and gums, remove any plaque or tartar buildup, and provide tips on improving oral hygiene habits. They may also take X-rays for any potential issues during treatment.

Other Tips for Cavity Prevention with Braces


Mouthwash can help kill bacteria that brushing and flossing may have missed. It’s important to note that not all mouthwashes are appropriate for those wearing braces. Look for a mouthwash that is alcohol-free to avoid irritation and dryness.

Sugar-free gum

Chewing gum stimulates saliva production that neutralises harmful acids in the mouth. However, choosing a sugar-free option is important to prevent any additional damage to teeth.


Those who participate in sports should also consider using a mouthguard. Mouthguards protect the teeth and braces during physical activity. It can help prevent damage to the braces and protect the wearer from injury.

This dentist who does periodontics and teeth whitening in Salem highly recommends getting your mouthguard from a dentist instead of buying off-the-counter ones.


Maintaining good oral health is crucial to avoid cavities. But braces can make it challenging to clean teeth properly, accumulating plaque and bacteria that cause cavities. However, with proper oral hygiene practices such as brushing twice daily, flossing, and using mouthwash, it is possible to prevent cavities and keep your teeth healthy while wearing braces. Regular visits to the orthodontist for adjustments can help detect any issues early and prevent further complications. Therefore, caring for teeth and braces is crucial for a healthy, beautiful smile.