How to Floss With Braces

Brackets and wires can make it challenging to clean your teeth properly. However, maintaining thorough oral hygiene with braces is essential. Below, we cover how to floss with braces.

Brushing is the first and most important step in the daily oral hygiene routine. Unfortunately, the brush can not reach all the necessary spots in your mouth where food debris and bacteria might linger, for example, between the teeth. Flossing helps to reach these places.

How to Floss With Braces

In this article, we will talk about how to floss with braces to achieve the best results and make sure that your mouth is as healthy as possible.

Using Traditional Floss with Braces

Unfortunately, flossing takes longer and is more challenging when you wear braces. Here are several rules that might help make the process more efficient:

  • Use only waxed floss, as unwaxed ones can be torn easily and can get stuck in the brackets.
  • Make sure you have 10 to 15 minutes for flossing. This is the approximate time you will need to thoroughly clean your teeth and braces.
  • Use a piece of floss about 24 inches in length.
  • Floss in front of a mirror so you can see how exactly you move your floss.
  • For easier and more secure handling of the floss, wrap its ends around your index fingers.
  • Thread the floss between your teeth and the main wire of your braces.
  • Carefully move the thread along the sides of two teeth with an up-and-down motion. Make sure that you clean both teeth.
  • You can move the thread up along one tooth and then move it down along the other.
  • Remove the floss carefully and unthread it from behind the wire. Popping the floss out with sudden movements can knock the wire out of the bracket.
  • Repeat this process for each pair of teeth.

Using an Oral Irrigator

An oral irrigator or a water floss is a dental tool that uses a stream of water to help you clean your teeth. A water floss can not replace brushing your teeth, but it can help remove plaque from along the gumline on both sides of your teeth, and from between your teeth. Flossing with an oral irrigator can be a good solution for people with braces as a last step in their routine.

Using a Floss Threader

A floss threader is a tool that helps pull and manipulate the thread more easily than when you hold it with your fingers. Using a floss threader might be slightly more time-effective. Follow these steps when using a floss threader:

  • Pull a piece of your waxed floss through the eye of the threader.
  • The point of the needle goes under the wire of the braces. Then, it is pulled through the wire of your braces.
  • As with traditional flossing, wrap the thread around your index fingers.
  • Slide the floss up and down between two teeth, making sure that you clean both of them.
  • Carefully pull the floss out, firstly from between your teeth and then from behind the wire.
  • Repeat the process for each pair of teeth after rethreading the floss.

Using Dental Tape

Dental tape is recommended for people with very sensitive gums that bleed easily. Dental tape is used in the same way as traditional floss. However, it is much easier to manipulate, because it is much wider. It is also very thin and smooth.

Other Tips for Oral Hygiene with Braces

  • As we mentioned before, you should brush and floss your teeth every day. In addition to a traditional toothbrush, you will likely need a special interproximal brush. It is a small brush that is very convenient when it comes to cleaning under the wires and around the brackets.
  • Visit your dental hygienist regularly, ideally every 3 months, for professional cleanings. A dental hygienist has special tools to thoroughly and effectively clean your teeth and braces, even in places that are very hard to reach when you brush and floss at home.
  • Avoid whitening toothpastes. Such toothpastes will affect only the exposed parts of your teeth and not the parts under the brackets. So, when your braces are taken off, your teeth might appear stained.
  • Try using an electric toothbrush. Some studies show that an electric toothbrush can clean teeth more effectively than a traditional one.

If you have any questions or are considering getting braces, sign up for an appointment with your dentist at OC Dental Specialists. We are looking forward to helping you achieve your smile goals with comfort.