One of the common fears about orthodontic treatment is that the bands may cause decay. Actually, the parts of your teeth covered by the bands are protected from decay as long as the cement under the bands is holding properly. The bands, however, do make certain areas harder to clean. The brackets, tubes and wires make a little shelf around the outside of the teeth and this shelf makes it harder for you to clean the spaces between the gums and bands.

If you fail to clean the teeth and the gums with your toothbrush, the gums will swell and make it even more difficult to clean these areas. Continued neglect of these areas will result in etch marks or decay. Be sure to use a soft-bristled brush and to wiggle the bristles between your teeth and around the wires. Remember to check in the mirror after you have brushed your teeth to make sure these areas are clean.


You can keep your teeth and gums clean with either a manual or electric toothbrush.

  • Brush straight across the teeth and braces, back and forth, to loosen food particles. Be sure to brush on both sides of the teeth.
  • Scrub the chewing surface of the teeth.
  • Using a circular or vibrating motion, brush around the gum line for about 10 seconds per tooth with a manual toothbrush or about 5 seconds per tooth with an electric toothbrush.

The bristles of the toothbrush should be placed where the gum and tooth meet. Brush each tooth slowly and separately. Use the proxa brush to clean in between the teeth. Please try to brush your teeth after lunch when at school or work.


Flossing removes plaque between teeth and beneath the gum line that brushing cannot. You should brush and floss after every meal while you have braces. Proper flossing is as important as proper brushing and a habit to continue after your braces are taken off.

Thread the floss through the floss threader and place the threader between the gum and the arch wire. Pull the floss halfway through and lay the threader aside. Holding the floss on either end, gently “work” it up and down the sides of the teeth and under the gum line.

If you follow the above instructions, your treatment will be more pleasant and your treatment time will be minimized. The success of your treatment depends upon your cooperation. Please remember to continue visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.