Caring for your smile

At RJ Orthodontics (home of your local Austin orthodontist and Elite Invisalign provider) we take pride in helping you achieve the straighter, more confident smile you’ve always wanted through the various types of treatment we offer. However, if you want your smile to be as beautiful as possible when those braces come off, it is important that while undergoing orthodontic treatment you maintain a good brushing and flossing routine.

Thorough bushing and flossing is key to keeping your teeth, and your smile, healthy and bright. Food particles naturally get stuck in your teeth every day, but when you have braces the particles get trapped around the brackets and wires too. Therefore, while it might be more difficult to brush and floss around your orthodontia, it is just as important. For if these particles are not cleaned then they can create bacteria, which in turn can lead to dental and oral issues such as plaque, tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss.


Excited to get started on that brushing routine? Here are RJ Orthodontics’ recommended best practices for brilliant brushing:

  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste.
  • When you brush your teeth, hold the toothbrush at angle and carefully move the brush in small, circular motions – covering all surface areas around and between teeth and braces.
  • Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth, and on the outside, inside, and chewing surfaces of your front and back teeth.

Your Routine

No matter what type of braces you have, it is important that you stick with a regular brushing routine. For best results, Dr. RJ recommends that you brush your teeth four times a day (each time for a few minutes).

This will help keep your teeth healthy so that when your orthodontic treatment is over you smile is as amazing as possible.

We suggest brushing: in the morning after breakfast, after lunch or right after school, after supper, and at bedtime.

Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the “reusable floss threader” provided by Dr. RJ at our office.


For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, use dental floss to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is vital that you stick with it and floss at least once a day (preferably at night so that your teeth are clean before you go to bed). To maximize the effect of your flossing, RJ Orthodontics suggests the following standards and practices:

Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the “reusable floss threader” provided by Dr. RJ at our office.

Slide floss up and down along the front of each tooth. (You will be able to feel when each tooth is clean and will hear the squeak of the floss against it.)

Use care around your archwire. Do not floss too forcefully or apply too much pressure in the process.
After you floss between your archwire and braces, floss between all of your other teeth and around your gums.

If you are flossing without the reusable floss threader, pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers and then guide the floss between all of your teeth down to the gum line, pulling out food particles and plaque along the way. (Be sure to clean the floss from around your fingers as you go so that you have used the floss from beginning to end by the time you finish.)

Please keep in mind, when you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform a staff member at your next appointment.

If you’re wearing braces, congratulations on taking a major step toward the betterment of your teeth, gums, and smile. Braces can work wonders, but it does require regular attention and maintenance. One of the easiest ways of keeping it in great shape between visits to Dr. RJ is to avoid eating foods that can damage it or otherwise cause tooth decay.

In general, most decisions can be based on a little common sense. Hard or sticky foods can break brackets and wires or get caught in between them, and you already know that foods high in sugar are bad for your teeth. Here’s a quick refresher on what to avoid when undergoing orthodontic treatment. (Also, keep in mind that habits like chewing on pens or biting your nails can wreak havoc on your teeth.)

Just Say No: Sticky Foods

  • Chewing gum
  • Licorice
  • Toffee
  • Caramels
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Starburst

Just Say No: Hard Foods

  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Corn on the cob
  • Hard breads (French bread, bagels, etc.)
  • Apples and carrots (unless cut in small pieces)
  • Chips
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Hard taco shells
  • Pizza crust

Just Say No: Sugary Foods

  • Cake
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Ice cream
  • Candy

Finally, Enjoy the Following in Moderation (No More Than Once a Day)

  • Soda and other sugary drinks
  • Sweetened tea
  • Gatorade
  • Kool-Aid