Appliance Care

Oral Hygiene

All orthodontic appliances have a tendency to trap particles of food and collect plaque.  You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean when wearing orthodontic appliances.  This makes brushing and flossing even more important to prevent the buildup of plaque, which produces gum inflammation and tooth decay.

  • Clean your teeth and braces with fluoride toothpaste and a small soft toothbrush immediately after each meal.  Your braces should shine and your gums should remain pink and firm and not bleed during brushing (bleeding indicates gum inflammation and the presence of plaque so brush more, not less!)
  • Interdental toothbrushes can clean underneath and around your wires and braces making them great at getting to the difficult places. We recommend purchasing Size 6 Piksters (the green ones) as a good size to use with braces.  
  • Some patients are advised to use Colgate NeutraFluor 5000 toothpaste. This is a high fluoride toothpaste which offers extra protection against plaque and acid attack during times when brushing is more challenging. It is usually used once per week (brushing before bed time) unless otherwise instructed by your orthodontist. This can be purchased from most pharmacies but it needs to be requested as it is usually kept behind the counter. 
  • If practical floss at least once a day. The floss needs to be first threaded under the arch wire before going between your teeth. Then floss up and down the sides of the teeth. Superfloss from Oral-B is excellent for threading between the teeth which have spaces and also for flossing fixed retainer wires.

Pictures courtesy ASO site:

Diet, decay and breakages

It is important during orthodontic appliance care that you do not:

  • Chew your pen
  • Open water bottles with your teeth
  • Bite your finger nails
  • Fiddle with your appliances

You should avoid foods and soft drinks that are acidic and/or high in sugar as they promote tooth decay.  You will also need to avoid hard, sticky or crunchy foods as they can pull brackets off and bend wires which will slow your treatment. Remember to check your appliance regularly for anything loose or bent.


  •  NO sticky lollies such as minties, fantales, redskins, starburst, toffee
  •  NO hard biscuits such as ginger snaps, Anzac biscuits
  •  NO pork crackling, crusty bread, hard nuts
  •  NO chewing meat off bones or corn off the cob
  •  NO chewing ice
  •  CUT up apples and raw carrots

We recommend that you see your dentist every 6 months for a dental check-up and fluoride application.

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