Braces & Retainer Care


You will be shown the proper care of your braces when your orthodontic treatment begins, and our team will continue to coach and support you in this throughout your entire treatment.  Your most important job is to keep your mouth clean! Proper cleansing of your mouth is necessary every time you eat. Teeth with braces are harder to clean, and trap food very easily. If food is left lodged on the brackets and wires, it can cause unsightly and damaging white spots/scarring of the enamel on your teeth, and in some cases cavities.  The symptoms of gum disease, swelling bleeding and discomfort, will also occur.  Poor hygiene will slow progress of your orthodontic treatment, and compromise results.


BRUSHING: You should brush your teeth 4-5 times per day.

1. Brush back and forth across…between the wires and gums on the upper and lower to loosen any food particles.

2. Next, brush as if you had no brackets or appliances on.

3. Start on the outside of the uppers with the bristles at a 45-degree angle toward the gum and scrub with a circular motion two or three teeth at a time using ten strokes, then move on.

4. Next, do the same on the inner surface of the upper teeth.

5. Then, go to the lower teeth and repeat steps 1 & 2.

6. Look in a mirror to see if you have missed any places. Your teeth, brackets and wires should be free of any food particles and plaque.

Note: If your gums bleed when brushing, do not avoid brushing, but rather continue stimulating the area with the bristles. Be sure to angle your toothbrush so that the area under your gum line is cleaned. After 3 or 4 days of proper brushing, the bleeding should stop, and your gums should be healthy again.

A waterpik can be a useful tool while in orthodontic treatment, to help to remove debris and food caught in your appliances.  It does not replace brushing/flossing but can be a good addition to your homecare to help our goal of a HEALTHY straight smile at the completion of treatment! 


FLOSSING: Use a special floss threader to floss with your braces on. Be sure to floss at least once per day.


FLUORIDE RINSE OR GEL: May be recommended for preventive measures.




It is important that you take good care of your removable retainer. Here are some good rules to follow:

Always carry a retainer case with you – when your removable retainer is not in your mouth, put it in its case.

Never wrap your retainer in a napkin – it’s too easy to throw away.

Keep your retainer out of the reach of pets – animals don’t realize a retainer isn’t a chew toy.

Avoid heat – your retainer can become deformed if it’s left on a heater, a hot stove, or in a hot car.

Keep your retainer clean – clean the retainer by rinsing and brushing with toothpaste.  Do not use any harsh cleaners.  Periodically, the retainer can be soaked in denture cleaner, which is safe and gentle enough to use without harming the plastic material. 

 If you are wearing an upper or lower fixed retainer, be extra careful to brush the wire and the inside of the lower teeth, and use floss threaders to continue to clean in between the teeth/floss.

Always bring your retainer to each appointment.  Now that your treatment is completed and you have your retainers, it is up to you to keep your smile healthy and beautiful. If your retainers get broken or lost, contact the office immediately.


Hard or sticky foods can damage braces, causing pain or the need for adjustment.

Avoid Sticky Foods such as:


Candy bars with caramel

Fruit Roll-Ups


Candy or caramel apples




Gummy Bears


Avoid Hard or Tough Foods such as:

Pizza Crust


Hard Candy

Corn Chips

Ice Cubes


Popcorn Kernels


The following foods should be cut into small pieces and chewed with the back teeth to prevent damage to your appliances:



Corn on the Cob




Chicken Wings

Spare Ribs


Good snack food options include:




Steamed veggies

Soft fruits, such as bananas, melons, oranges, grapes, raspberries, blueberries and kiwi

Ice cream, smoothies or milkshakes

Light cookies or crackers