How Do Oral Hygiene Practices Differ for Braces and Clear Aligners Users?

If you’re getting your teeth straightened with Feil Orthodontics, you’ve got an exciting journey ahead of you. We know keeping your teeth in top shape during treatment might seem a bit tricky, but don’t worry—it’s totally possible. Whether you’re rocking braces or clear aligners, we’ve got some easy and effective tips to keep your smile sparkling clean. Let’s dive in!

What Are Clear Aligners & Braces?

Clear aligners are just that, clear! They’re removable trays that gently move your teeth. They’re almost invisible and can be taken out when you eat and brush your teeth, which is a big plus!

Braces use metal brackets and wires to move your teeth into the right spots. They’re great for fixing lots of dental issues but need special care.

What Are the Differences?

Both braces and clear aligners need good brushing and flossing habits, but the methods are a bit different. Braces need more time and effort to clean around brackets and wires, while aligners need regular removal and cleaning. 

Both need regular check-ups to keep your teeth healthy. Here’s a quick comparison:

Clear Aligners: Easier to clean because they are removable; regular brushing of aligners and teeth is required.

Braces: More time is needed to clean around brackets and wires; special tools like floss threaders and interdental brushes are needed.

How Do Oral Hygiene Practices Differ for Braces and Clear Aligners Users?

How To Keep Your Smile Bright

These tips will help you keep good oral hygiene, no matter which treatment you choose:

The Right Tools for the Job: Orthodontic toothbrushes, floss threaders, interdental brushes, and water flossers can make cleaning easier. Using the right tools helps you clean more effectively.

Foods to Avoid: With braces, avoid sticky, hard, and sugary foods that can damage the brackets and wires. Avoid eating with aligners to prevent stains and damage. Being careful with your diet helps protect your orthodontic appliances and keep your mouth healthy.

Water, Water, Water: Drinking plenty of water helps wash away food particles and bacteria, keeping your mouth clean. Staying hydrated supports overall oral health and keeps your breath fresh.

Routine is Key: Stick to a regular cleaning schedule to prevent plaque buildup and keep your teeth and gums healthy. Regular cleaning habits lead to better oral health.

Ask the Experts: Don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Feil or the team at Feil Orthodontics for advice on keeping your teeth clean with your braces or aligners.

How to Keep Clear Aligners Clean

Clear aligners are easier to keep clean than braces but have their own challenges. Plaque can build up on the aligners if not cleaned regularly. Plus, food particles can get trapped against your teeth if you don’t brush before putting the aligners back in. Here’s how to keep your aligners and teeth clean:

Cleaning Aligners

Clean your aligners with clear, antibacterial soap or special aligner cleaning solutions. Don’t use toothpaste on them as it can scratch the plastic. Proper cleaning of your aligners helps prevent bacteria buildup and keeps them fresh.

Storing Aligners

Always store your aligners in their case when not in use. This keeps them clean and prevents them from getting lost or damaged. Proper storage also helps keep your aligners in shape.


Brush your teeth and aligners after every meal to prevent food particles and plaque from getting trapped. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid scratching the aligners. Brushing both your teeth and aligners helps keep them clean and clear.


Since aligners are removable, flossing is usually easier than with braces. Floss at least once a day to keep your teeth clean. Regular flossing helps prevent cavities and keeps your gums healthy.

How to Keep Braces Clean

Braces can make brushing and flossing a bit of a hassle. Food and plaque can easily get stuck around the brackets and wires, which might lead to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some easy tips:

Regular Check-Ups

Regular visits to Dr. Feil for check-ups and cleanings are super important. We’ll make sure your teeth and braces are clean and catch any problems early. Professional cleanings can remove plaque and tartar buildup that you might miss at home.


Use a special orthodontic or electric toothbrush made for braces. Brush after every meal to get rid of food and plaque. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and use small, gentle circles to clean each tooth and around the brackets. And don’t forget to brush your tongue!


Flossing with braces can be tricky. Use floss threaders to help get the floss under the wires. Interdental brushes or water flossers can also make cleaning between your teeth and around the brackets easier. These tools help you get rid of food particles and plaque that brushing might miss.

Using Mouthwash

Adding mouthwash to your daily routine can help reach areas that brushing and flossing might miss. Look for a mouthwash with fluoride to make your teeth stronger. Rinse with mouthwash after brushing and flossing for extra protection against bacteria.

How Do Oral Hygiene Practices Differ for Braces and Clear Aligners Users?

Healthy Smiles at Feil Orthodontics

Your smile deserves the best care, especially during orthodontic treatment. By following these expert tips, you can keep your teeth shining and your gums healthy. Ready to learn more about transforming your smile? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Feil at Feil Orthodontics in Bismarck, Beulah, or Mandan today, and take the next step towards achieving the smile of your dreams!