Bellevue Braces
Bellevue Orthodontist

Oral Hygiene

Cleaning After Meals

While the ideal situation is to always carry a toothbrush with you and brush your teeth after eating, we know sometimes this just is not possible. Therefore, if brushing is not an option follow these steps to get you by until you can find a sink to use your toothbrush and toothpaste: RINSE-BRUSH-RINSE

1. Take a mouthful of water and swish vigorously for 15-20 seconds to help dislodge food particles from in between your braces.
2. Use an interproximal brush (the one that looks like a mini pipe cleaner) to loosen food that may be stuck under the wires.
3. Take another mouthful of water and swish again for 15-20 seconds to removed the loosened food.

We are really pro-active to make sure you do not cause any damage to your teeth from poor oral hygiene while you have braces on. The pictures below illustrate the difference between good and bad hygiene as well as the effects if can have on your smile. Even with all of the instruction we give you, it is critical that you return to your family dentist for regular check-ups and professional cleaning to ensure a healthy smile when your braces are removed!

Example of excellent hygiene with braces

  • No visible plaque
  • No visible food
  • No swollen gums
  • No bleeding gums
  • Shiny braces
Follow this home care sequence of steps in the morning and at night and you can be assured that you will avoid most problems as well as have great hygiene reports at your regular adjustment visits.

Brushing Your Teeth with Braces
Floss between each and every tooth using the Sonicare® flosser or using Superfloss® or floss threaders and dental floss. You MUST get the floss underneath the wire in order for this to be effective. This will take an additional 5 minutes or so, but it is probably the most important step for keeping your gums healthy and removing plaque from in between the teeth.

Brush your teeth for a full 2 minutes with either the electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush. Use a fluoride containing toothpaste (we recommend either Colgate Total® or Crest-Pro Health®) and follow these steps:
  • Brush along the along the top gumline and the top of your upper braces
  • Brush along the gumline and underneath your lower braces
  • Brush along the front of your upper and lower teeth
  • Brush along the edges and the braces of your upper and lower teeth
  • Brush along the back of your upper and lower teeth
  • Brush along the biting surfaces of your upper and lower teeth

Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) Care


  • Do not eat anything hard – this can cause the RPE to loosen.
  • Do not eat anything sticky or gooey – this can clog the screw and make it hard to find or turn.
  • DO NOT EAT POPCORN, NUTS, OR CHIPS. The hard fragments or shells can get stuck under the RPE and cause a very painful sore.
  • All of the teeth under the expander are encased in fluoride-releasing glue. However, the area on the sides above the expander is not protected. It is important to brush along the gumline to remove plaque and food.
  • Food will get trapped under the expander. Vigorously rinsing with water for 30 seconds after eating will help flush out any particles.


  • If the expander should loosen and you are able to take it out. Please call or email the office and we will schedule you for an appointment to have it replaced or reinserted.
  • Pieces of plastic in the back may break off over time. As long as the expander is firmly in place, do not worry.
  • If you have discomfort that lasts longer than 15-30 minutes, stop turning and please call the office.
  • If you experience any swelling or soreness around the edges of the expander, stop turning and call the office for an evaluation.
  • If you cannot find the hole for the key, please call the office.


Orthodontic First Aid

Oral Hygiene

Bellevue Braces Partners

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