Oral Hygiene

A very wise person once said, “it is not necessary to brush all of your teeth… only those you wish to keep.”  This is a rule of thought that we adamantly believe in at Righellis Orthodontics.

The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene

Regardless of how well we clean and prepare your teeth before putting your braces on, it will be your responsibility to maintain good oral hygiene habits throughout the duration of your treatment.

Braces, brackets, bands, and wires all trap food particles, which then lead to plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease. It’s easy to assume that braces cause these issues but really it’s the tiny spaces they create that are a challenge to keep clean.

While you may feel like you are brushing and flossing more than you ever have since having braces, you’re actually creating oral hygiene habits that will set you up for success.

Bacteria found in plaque causes caries (tooth decay) and decalcification. These bacteria are known to produce acids, which will dissolve the tooth enamel over time, resulting in surface staining and caries. Decay and decalcification found on the teeth are direct results of plaque. By keeping your teeth and gums clean during your orthodontic treatment, you will ensure a happy smile free of cavities and discoloration once your braces come off.

Proper Oral Hygiene

Now that you know how important healthy dental habits are, we will explore oral hygiene in a little more detail. Learn more about caring for your teeth in the sections below.

Tooth Brushing

Brush your teeth after every meal and before bedtime to remove food and plaque from around your orthodontic appliances. Always use a fluoride toothpaste to help prevent cavities, tooth decay, and decalcification. There is no need for vigorous strokes. The head of your toothbrush should be at the gum line. Brush just hard enough to feel a slight bit of pressure on the gums. Always spend time cleaning every single tooth and around every bracket and wire.

Brushing your teeth should take at least two minutes each time.


Flossing gets a bad rap, especially with braces. Make friends with this oral hygiene tool and you’ll be doing yourself and your smile a huge favor. It’s essential to removing food particles and plaque from your teeth that your toothbrush is unable to reach. Purchasing an oral irrigator can be useful as well. This tool uses a stream of water to blast food and debris from between the teeth and gums. Another helpful tool is a floss threader to guide the floss underneath each wire.

Interdental Brush

An interdental brush is a very helpful tool to clean in the cracks and crevices of the teeth. It will gently clean underneath and around your wires and brackets where your toothbrush may struggle to reach.

Finish with a Rinse

Once you finish brushing and flossing, be sure to rinse your mouth with water or an over-the-counter or prescription antiseptic mouth rinse. This practice helps to reduce biofilm and gum inflammation. It will also sooth minor irritations that can occur due to your braces. It’s also a good idea to rinse with water throughout the day just to help dislodge stuck food.

Regular Dental Cleanings

Make an appointment with your regular dentist at least every six months for a cleaning and a dental checkup.  This is one more way to keep your teeth healthy and clean while ensuring a beautiful smile.

Contact Our Practice Today

If you would like to learn more about oral hygiene tips, reach out to a team member at Righellis Orthodontics in Oakland, CA. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have.

Contact us online or give us a call at 510-482-0600.

Dr. Righellis & Dr. Ikeda
Meet Dr Righellis & Dr Ikeda
I don’t know how they do it – this is the best run medical office I have ever seen. Efficient, on time, exceptional service and everyone in the office is a pleasure.Claudia H.

Righellis & Associates

Orthodontics for Children and Adults

2220 Mountain Blvd.
Suite 204
Oakland, CA 94611

Office Hours

Monday - Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Friday: On a limited basis – please call for availability