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Your orthodontist and braces play a major role in straightening your smile but keeping your teeth clean and your gums healthy is ultimately your responsibility. Here are six essential oral hygiene tips for those with braces.

Detach: If you wear elastics, remove them before brushing and put them back on afterward.

Floss: Use dental floss with a floss threader, interdental brushes, or a water flosser at least once daily.

Brush: After each meal or snack, brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush. Ensure to angle the brush at 45 degrees above and below your brackets, covering all surfaces thoroughly.

Swish: If you can't brush after eating, rinse your mouth with water. Before bedtime, use an antimicrobial mouth rinse after brushing.

Check-up: Show up for dental and orthodontic appointments as scheduled.

Steer clear: Avoid foods that could harm your braces or get stuck, such as hard candies, gum, ice, popcorn, and things you must bite into, such as corn on the cob and whole apples.

Maintaining these healthy oral hygiene habits will help prevent cavities while you wear your braces. Consult your dental team for advice on the best toothbrush and enamel-strengthening options if you have sensitive teeth. When your braces come off, you'll be left with a straight and bright smile!