Cleaning around the wires, pins, elastics and bands that make up a set of traditional metal braces can seem like a daunting task. However, by taking a systematic approach to cleaning your teeth, you can ensure they stay clean throughout your orthodontic treatment. Use these five tips to clean your teeth and braces thoroughly.

1. Take Your Time

Cleaning your teeth can take longer than usual when you have braces. You need to ensure that you brush every tooth surface, including the backs and chewing surfaces. You also need to brush the wires that are fixed to your teeth and gently scrub any removable parts of your braces with a soft toothbrush. Once you get used to cleaning your braces, these steps shouldn't take too long, but when they're new you may need to set your alarm a few minutes earlier to ensure you aren't rushed.

2. Be Gentle

Brushing too vigorously could damage parts of your braces. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to gently clean your teeth, using a circular motion instead of a rapid up-and-down scrubbing motion. If you use an electric toothbrush, select sensitive mode and simply hold the brush against each tooth in turn; the rotating toothbrush head will do the rest.

3. Use a Floss Threader

Flossing your teeth can be tricky when you have braces, but it's important not to skip flossing. You need to clean food and plaque from the spaces between your teeth to prevent bacteria from growing there and producing acids that damage your teeth. A floss threader makes it possible to thread floss under the main wires of your braces so you can clean every tooth thoroughly.

4. Check for Plaque

It's easy to forget about some sections of your mouth when cleaning teeth with fixed braces. When you think you're done, dissolve a plaque disclosing tablet in water and swish the solution around your mouth before spitting it out again. This will stain any remaining plaque so that you can easily see where it is hiding. Clean away this plaque and make of note of which parts of your mouth you need to pay more attention to next time.

5. Rinse Regularly

If you don't have time to brush after every meal, swishing mouthwash or even plain water around your mouth can help to dislodge traces of food that might be clinging to the wires of your braces. Getting rid of this food could help you avoid bad breath, as well as preventing the embarrassment of realising you had spinach in your braces while talking to a client or coworker.