Oral Hygiene

Interdental Toothbrush

A Proxabrush or a Sulcabrush is an interdental (between the teeth) toothbrush that you may use to clean underneath and around your wires and braces. Use the Proxabrush or Sulcabrush gently to avoid damaging your wires. The Proxabrush or Sulcabrush will help you to clean your braces while maintaining healthy teeth and gums.


While brushing can eliminate the majority of the plaque in the mouth when wearing braces, it cannot eliminate food and plaque trapped between the teeth. For many patients with otherwise good oral hygiene, lack of flossing will lead to swollen and bleeding gums which creates an unattractive smile and can delay treatment progress significantly. Flossing at least once daily before brushing is key to preventing this from occurring. If only flossing once daily, bedtime is best.


Topical Fluoride

We recommend the daily use of X-PUR 0.5% Opti-Rinse. The xylitol and fluoride in this rinse help prevent plaque bacteria from producing the harmful acids that cause damage to tooth enamel, which can result in white spots or cavities. The fluoride also helps to strengthen the minerals in tooth enamel that have been exposed to the harmful acids. The use of Opti-Rinse does not replace daily brushing and flossing but should be done following your daily cleaning schedule at bedtime.


  1. Floss all your teeth
  2. Brush all your teeth thoroughly
  3. Rinse thoroughly with water
  4. Place a small amount of the fluoride rinse in a cup or glass
  5. Swish that amount around your teeth for 1 minute
  6. Spit out
  7. Do not eat, drink, or rinse your mouth for at least 30 minutes
  8. Repeat once daily

It is important for the active ingredient to stay on your teeth for 30 minutes. That is why its use just prior to bedtime is best. There may be other products that are as effective for this purpose but, unlike many other products that create a 'burning' sensation, Fluorinse is made in a manner that it can be tolerated easily in the mouth for 1 minute, even by very young patients, . If choosing another fluoride rinse, look for a fluoride concentration of 0.05% since it has been proven to be the most effective. A summary of fluoride recommendations can be found here. Further information on some of the controversies regarding fluoride can be found at

Cleaning Your Removable Appliance or Retainer

  1. Brush your removable appliance every day as a part of your regular brushing and flossing schedule. However, for clear retainers or aligners, if you wish them to remain clear, do not use toothpaste to clean them since the abrasives in toothpaste will make them cloudy in appearance.
  2. To remove stubborn accumulations, you can use a commercially available retainer or denture cleaner, but using white table vinegar instead to soak your appliance, followed by brushing the appliance “inside and out” as needed is a very effective, inexpensive, and environmentally-friendly way to keep your appliance sparkling clean.

WaterPiks and Electric Toothbrushes

A WaterPik can be a useful tool for assisting cleaning your teeth and braces but it usually will not replace the need for flossing and brushing thoroughly.

Electric toothbrushes can be an effective tool for cleaning teeth and braces but they are not magic: you will need to make sure that you spend time to carefully clean your teeth and braces whether you are using a manual or automated brush, and flossing will still be necessary.