Toothpaste for Braces in Massachusetts

New braces — new rules. Adjusting to braces can be a trying time for children and teens. Worrying about the best toothpaste for braces shouldn’t take up too much of your thoughts. You’ve probably already been using fluoride toothpaste, but if it is also a whitening toothpaste you’ll need something different.

The Importance of Oral Hygiene During Braces Treatment

You’re already aware of the importance of normal oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing, and regular dental checkups should always be a priority. With braces, the importance increases. Due to the brackets and wires, food particles have many more places to hide.

First, let’s explain the hardware. The orthodontist affixes brackets to teeth using a bonding agent. Then the archwire threads through each bracket. The doctor tightens the wire to create tension, which is what moves the teeth into alignment. The archwire is held in place using tiny rubber bands (elastics).

All of that extra gear in the mouth creates extra hiding places for plaque, food particles, and general ickiness. Not keeping your braces clean can promote and accelerate tooth decay.

The food that remains under the archwire and around the brackets can also damage the surface of tooth enamel. This may cause permanent staining, leaving visible lines, spots, or unsightly patches on the teeth. We’ll give you some tips on how to brush with braces shortly.

Selecting a Good Toothpaste for Braces

Fluoride is an important part of dental care. In some instances, you may even have a separate fluoride treatment to use after brushing. When selecting a good toothpaste for braces, select one that includes fluoride.

The difference between gel toothpaste and regular toothpaste is mostly a matter of personal taste. There are a gazillion different flavors and textures to choose from. Toothpaste manufacturers use flavors such as strawberry and bubble gum to entice children to brush longer. Whatever flavor you choose, it should be something that appeals to you.

While flavoring makes brushing more pleasant, other additives may cause harm during your treatment. Specifically, whitening agents. Many kinds of toothpaste tout a whiter smile just from using their product. Although that is a nice option without braces, it can be detrimental to a person wearing braces.

A handy checklist when shopping for a good toothpaste for braces:

  • Contains fluoride
  • Contains tartar control properties
  • Is American Dental Association (ADA) approved
  • Is a flavor/taste that you like
  • DOES NOT contain whitening agents

Using a whitening toothpaste with braces will, of course, help keep your teeth whiter. However, when the brackets are taken off, you will be left with tiny discolored squares on your teeth.

Ouch — Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

Getting braces is not without discomfort. On occasion, patients may desire to use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. If discomfort following adjustments sticks around longer than a week it may be helpful to add a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Make sure to select one that is ADA-approved and free of whitening agents.

Tips for Brushing and Flossing with Braces

When you got your braces, a technician gave you quick instructions on how to brush effectively. Likely you may have felt overwhelmed, tired, and had a little bit of a sore mouth. With that in mind, here are some tips and tricks that will help.

First things first — assemble your tools:

  • Toothbrush
  • Floss and floss threader
  • Interdental brushes
  • Non-whitening, ADA-approved toothpaste

We are presenting brushing first, but if your normal routine is to floss first, stick with that.


Start by rinsing your mouth with plain water. Swish the water thoroughly to remove loose food. Holding your toothbrush at about a 45-degree angle begin brushing. There are four sections of your mouth (top-right, top-left, bottom-right, and bottom-left). Spend at least 30 seconds on each section, overlapping in the front.

Using a side-to-side stroke above and below your braces is best, overlapping to include the archwire and brackets. Use small circular motions on and around each bracket to loosen stubborn food particles. Don’t forget the backs of the teeth and the top, chewing surfaces of your molars.

Using the interdental brush, brush along both sides, top, and bottom of all your brackets. These brushes are small enough to fit under the archwire and work great to dislodge hiding food particles. Once you have finished brushing and rinsing, it is time to floss.


Normal flossing is pretty straightforward. Once you have braces, though, threading the floss under the archwire to reach the gumline can be frustrating. Floss threaders are designed to make this process much easier. They work sort of like a sewing needle threader. You can purchase floss threaders at any retail store that sells floss and toothbrushes.

To use a floss threader:

  • Start with 12 to 18 inches of clean floss
  • Thread about 5 inches through the loop on the floss threader
  • Insert the tool under your archwire and into a gap between the teeth you will be flossing
  • Remove the threader, leaving the floss in place, and floss normally
  • Be sure to floss to the gum line and around all your teeth
  • Repeat for each gap until you have flossed between and around all your teeth
  • Throw away the used floss threader

You may also use a water flossing device if you have one, but manual flossing is more effective at removing plaque.

Final Notes About Toothpaste for Braces

Brushing and flossing are more important with braces. Remember to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every 3 to 4 months or if it becomes frayed. Use fluoride toothpaste without whitening agents. You can add a fluoride mouth rinse too for an even fresher mouth.

Be sure to continue your regular dental checkups and routine cleanings. Your dentist will work around your braces to care for your teeth.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the Smiles in Framingham office at 508-872-0555. Also, call if you experience any problems with your appliance. Braces aren’t always fun, but sticking to a good oral care routine and taking care of your braces will help make sure you finish with no delays.

Don’t forget to stop by our social media pages on Instagram and Facebook for more information.

To all my wonderful patients and their families:


The greatest pleasures of my career are watching children grow strong and healthy and seeing smiles become more beautiful. It has been a tremendous privilege to be a part of that growth and transformation. Now, however, it is time for me to slow down and share the care of my patients.


Starting in September 2022, Smiles in Framingham will merge with Moynihan Dental Specialists. I will remain with the practice, but will reduce my hours and give up administrative responsibilities. The wonderful team of people you and I have come to rely on will be staying. They will continue to help care for you. There will also be new faces, new people who will get to know and care for and about you.


Dr. Michael Moynihan is a second generation dentist and orthodontist practicing in Framingham. Dr. Mike, as he is known, is on the faculty of Boston University in the department of orthodontics. We spent two years as teaching partners supervising the Boston University orthodontic residents as they treated special needs children at Franciscan Hospital for Children. It was during that time I came to appreciate both how skilled Dr. Mike is and how much he cares about his patients. I retired from teaching prior to the pandemic, but Dr. Mike still puts much of his time and energy into teaching the next generation of orthodontists.


I met Dr. Daniel Moynihan when he was my student in 2017. Even at that time he was one of my most conscientious students. He cares deeply about all of his patients and I am proud to be associated with him. Dr. Dan is highly skilled with all aspects of orthodontics, including treatment using Invisalign and other aligners.


Dr. Katherine Moynihan and Dr. Christine Chiao are other members of the Moynihan team. Dr. Katherine Moynihan finished her orthodontic training at Boston University in 2021. Dr. Christine Chiao is a pediatric dentist, who also teaches at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine.


Life is an adventure with many chapters, twists, and turns. I enter this chapter of my life looking forward to what comes next and feeling some sadness that this phase of my life is changing. For now, we will be keeping all appointments as scheduled. We will contact you individually about any appointment changes. All orthodontic contracts will be honored with care provided by the orthodontists. I have every confidence that the doctors of Moynihan Dental Specialists will provide you with excellent care for many years to come.


My very best wishes to all of you,


Dr. Deborah Himelhoch