Caring for Braces: Dental Hygiene Tips for Children by Dr. Mila Cohen Pediatric Dentist

A happy child with braces showing their oral hygiene kit in front of a Jersey City NJ pediatric dentist office.

As a pediatric dentist, I often see children who have braces and struggle with maintaining good oral hygiene. It is important to understand that braces require extra care and attention to keep teeth healthy and clean. In this article, I will provide a comprehensive guide on how to care for braces, including dental hygiene tips that every parent should know.

Why is Dental Hygiene Important when Wearing Braces?

Dental hygiene is important at all times, but it becomes even more crucial when wearing braces. Braces can make it difficult to brush and floss effectively, which can lead to plaque buildup, cavities, gum disease or other dental problems.

The brackets and wires of the braces create tiny spaces where food particles can easily become  stuck. When these particles are not cleaned properly, they will feed the bacteria in the mouth; leading to bad breath or other dental issues.

Thus maintaining proper oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment is vital in preventing tooth decay as well as avoiding serious gum diseases like gingivitis or periodontitis.

How Often Should You Brush Your Teeth with Braces?

Brushing your teeth regularly with braces should be done after every meal or snack you take throughout the day. This helps remove food debris from your teeth before it turns into plaque which causes tooth decay.

Make sure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush angled 45 degrees towards the gum line while brushing both above and below each bracket on each side of your mouth.

It’s also essential that you brush gently without applying too much pressure so as not damage any wires or brackets while cleaning them thoroughly at the same time.

Flossing with Braces

Flossing may seem challenging when wearing braces, but it is essential to remove food particles that get stuck between the teeth and under the wires.

Use a floss threader or orthodontic floss which has a stiff end to help guide the floss around each bracket. Make sure you carefully slide the floss up and down each side of every tooth, including behind your back teeth.

Flossing should be done at least once a day, preferably before bedtime. This helps keep your mouth clean overnight, reducing bacterial growth and preventing bad breath.

Mouth Rinse

Using mouth rinse can help kill bacteria in your mouth that lead to bad breath or other dental problems like gum disease. It also helps loosen any food debris stuck between your teeth and braces.

Rinse your mouth with an antimicrobial mouthwash after brushing and flossing. Be sure to swish it around for about 30 seconds before spitting out.

Foods You Should Avoid with Braces

Certain foods can damage braces brackets or wires leading to costly repairs requiring additional visits to our dental office in Jersey City NJ. Here are some types of food you should avoid while wearing braces:

– Hard candy

– Popcorn

– Nuts

– Chewing gum

– Corn on the cob

– Hard bread crusts

It’s important that you avoid these foods as they can dislodge brackets or bend wires causing discomfort while wearing them.


Caring for braces requires extra effort when it comes to oral hygiene as well as being mindful of what types of foods you eat throughout treatment duration. Proper oral hygiene will help prevent cavities, gum disease, bad breath while ensuring successful treatment outcomes at our pediatric dental office in Jersey City NJ. We hope this article serves as a helpful guide for parents looking after their children’s dental health during orthodontic care!

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