Brushing and Flossing


At the office of Haney Orthodontics, Dr. Haney and our skilled team want to ensure that all of our patients are well versed in the proper ways to care for their teeth while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Whether they are attempting to clean in and around their brackets or they are having trouble scrubbing their Invisalign, one of the struggles that many of our San Anselmo and San Rafael braces patients face is learning to properly brush, floss, and care for their teeth. Here we outline some useful techniques for keeping teeth clean throughout treatment.


Getting the brush around orthodontic appliances can be difficult. For the best results, point the brush toward your gums and be sure to jiggle the brush at least eight times per tooth when brushing the gum line. Brush the tops and bottoms of the braces, ensuring that the bristles go under the wires and between the brackets. Use the interproximal (“Christmas Tree”) brush for better results. For the inside of the teeth, again point the brush toward the gums when brushing to sweep away plaque. 

There are Four Target Areas When Brushing Your Teeth With Braces:

 Where the teeth meet the gums

  1. Point the brush toward the gums. This will allow the bristles to sweep away plaque.
  2. Jiggle the toothbrush 8 times per tooth.

Top of the braces

  1. With firm pressure, brush the top of the braces
  2. When brushing the top of the braces be sure the bristles go under the wire and between the brackets

Bottom of the braces

  1. With firm pressure, brush the bottom of the braces
  2. When brushing the bottom of the braces be sure the bristles go under the wire and between brackets

Where the teeth meet the gums on the tongue side

  1. Point the brush towards the gums. This will allow the bristles to sweep away plaque

Interproximal or "Christmas Tree" brush

  1. The interproximal or "Christmas Tree" brush can be bent in any direction you may need
  2. Use the brush to clean between the brackets and under the wire


When flossing with orthodontic appliances such as braces, many patients prefer threader floss, which helps to more easily thread the floss around wires. To use, simply thread the floss through the threader, then slip the threader under the brace wire while holding the end of the floss with your free hand. Be sure to floss between every tooth, even if it doesn’t have a brace attached to it. 

Threader Floss

  1. Some people find this combined floss and built-in threader tip to be easier to use. Each person needs to use what feels most comfortable.
  2. Please floss between each tooth – Whether it has a brace on it or not!

Bridge Aid Dental Floss Threader

  1. Thread the floss through the eye of the floss threader
  2. Slip the threader under the wire with one hand while holding one end of the floss with the other hand.

Fluoride Rinse

Patients with braces must use a fluoride rinse in order to protect tooth enamel from decalcification, which is the creation of white spots where the tooth has gone soft. Use fluoride every day after brushing, and wait at least 30 minutes to eat or drink after rinsing with fluoride.


Schedule An Appointment For San Anselmo & San Rafael Orthodontics

Brushing and flossing with braces can require some extra special care. Getting your teeth clean in and around your appliances takes additional effort but it can actually make for a more effective and more efficient treatment. If you have questions regarding brushing and flossing or the treatments we offer, or to schedule a consultation or a checkup appointment with Dr. Haney, contact us or request an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!