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Your Checklist for Taking Care of Your Braces

Everyone has to make sacrifices in life—it is part of what truly creates appreciation for some of the finer things in life. Enduring years of braces is often what allows many people to appreciate good dental hygiene and enjoy a straighter, beautiful smile.

Taking care of your teeth with braces is often challenging. Braces have many tiny spaces where food can become trapped, leading to plaque build-up, and potential dental issues. For this reason, it is very important to brush your teeth after meals and snacks, as well as rinse with mouthwash, and floss at least once a day. Orthodontists recommend these essential habits for caring for braces and other dental appliances. Use the guide below to achieve optimal outcomes on the journey to your new smile.

Flossing with Braces: Carefully feed the short end of the floss through the space between the upper portion of the tooth closest to the gum and the main arch wire. Use a gentle back-and-forth motion to work the floss between the two teeth. Be gentle as you pull, so as not to disturb the arch wire.

Brushing with Braces: Use a regular soft toothbrush. Brush down from the top and then up from the bottom on each tooth. Next, brush your teeth with a Proxabrush, specially designed for cleaning between two braces. Insert the brush down from the top and then up from the bottom between two braces. Make several strokes in each direction before moving to the next space. Repeat until all areas are cleaned.

Foods and Food Items to Avoid while Wearing Braces:

  • Hard or tough-to-bite foods; i.e., apples or bagels
  • Chewy foods; i.e., taffy or caramels
  • Corn on the cob
  • Hard pretzels
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Carrots
  • Chewing gum
  • Do not chew ice

Caring for Retainers: Brush your retainer each time you brush your teeth.Daily, or at least once a week, disinfect the retainer by soaking it in a denture cleanser and warm water. Rinse the retainer thoroughly with plain water before placing it back in your mouth.

What to Do If a Bracket or Wire Breaks: Tips for common problems until you are able to see your orthodontist.

  • Loose brackets. Use orthodontic wax, provided by your orthodontist upon getting braces, to temporarily reattach loose brackets or to provide a cushion between the bracket and the soft tissues of the mouth.
  • Loose bands. Save the band and contact your orthodontist for repair.
  • Protruding or broken wire. Carefully use the eraser end of a pencil to move the wire to improve comfort. Do not attempt to cut the wire because you might accidentally swallow it or inhale it into your lungs. Apply orthodontic wax to avoid rubbing in the mouth. Contact your orthodontist for an appointment to repair the issue.
  • Loose spacers. Request that these be repositioned or replaced if they slip or fall out.

To get the dental care you deserve from an affordable dentist in Philadelphia, call Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania today at or make an appointment.


Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Philadelphia. With 8 affiliated practices in the Philadelphia area, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Gentle Dental of Pennsylvania.

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