Brushing and Flossing

During Your Orthodontic Treatment

Dr. Larkin and his team of doctors at Legendary Smiles believe that brushing & flossing are critical components of effective orthodontic treatment and ensures that our patients continue to have clean and healthy smiles. Plaque is formed by food particles building up between teeth and in your braces. This buildup leads to more bacteria in your mouth, which in turn can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and even the loss of your teeth. However, such conditions rarely occur if you have a daily routine and pay careful attention to keeping your braces and teeth clean.


Whether you have braces or Invisalign, brushing your teeth takes on added importance during your orthodontic treatment. Dr. Larkin and his team of doctors recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste that contains fluoride. When you brush your teeth, move the toothbrush in small, tight circular motions over each tooth, between your braces, and of course between your teeth. Holding the toothbrush at an angle ensures that you are reaching any bits of food that are underneath your gum line. It is important not to be in a rush when brushing your teeth, but rather take your time and be conscious of brushing away from the gums. Brushing away from the gums means brushing “south” for your upper teach and “north” on your lower teeth. Brushing your tongue and the roof of your mouth helps keep your entire mouth clean and feeling fresh.

When starting out with your braces or Invisalign treatment, we recommend brushing your teeth four times each day to help keep food particles from building up between your braces. Some recommended times include:

  • After breakfast
  • After lunch or right after school
  • After supper
  • Right before bedtime

You will also notice that your toothbrush will need to be replaced more frequently due to the wear and tear that braces puts on the bristles of your brush. Take your time and try to reach difficult-to-reach spots underneath your archwire. After rinsing out with water, be sure to use mouthwash and fluoride treatment during and after your orthodontic treatment.


Flossing is one of the most neglected aspects of dental care for people of all ages, regardless if they are seeing an orthodontist or not. This is unfortunate as it is one of the best ways to clean the space between your teeth that a toothbrush has difficulty reaching, which is why we recommend flossing to all of our patients that visit our Reno, Sparks, & Carson City area offices. Yes, flossing while wearing braces is a bigger time commitment, but flossing every day had big benefits for the health of your teeth & gums.

Our office provides our patients with reusable floss threaders to help you reach under archwire. Take a small piece of floss and thread it through the threader. Slide the floss up and down across each tooth, feeling how clean each tooth gets along the way. Never put to much force on your archwire when flossing or rush the process. After you’ve slowly and carefully flossed between your braces, floss between the rest of your teeth and gums.

We recommend to our patients that you floss at night to ensure that your mouth is clean before you go to sleep. If you prefer to floss without a floss threader, wrap the ends of the floss around each of your middle fingers and slowly floss between each tooth all the way to the gumline, making sure you retrieve any bits of food that are stuck. And don’t neglect your molars, as they need some attention too! Bleeding from your gums is completely normal when you first start flossing with your braces. If bleeding continues or is abnormally painful, make one of our staff members aware of your situation during your next appointment.

Contact Us If You Have Any Questions!

If you have any specific questions about brushing or flossing during your treatment, don’t hesitate to call us! Dr. Larkin and his team of doctors and their staff are happy to answer your questions and ensure that you are happy and comfortable with your treatment.