Flossing With Braces
There’s an old joke that dentists tell “You only have to floss the teeth you want to keep!” This is even more true when you have braces. Flossing with braces can be tricky, but it is very important to do at least once a day. With practice and patience, you’ll see how flossing can help your mouth get and stay healthy!
There are many ways to floss, but here are the best methods to use when you have braces. It will seem much harder to floss than it did before you had braces, but you are already working so hard on your beautiful smile, so please take this extra step, it will be worth it! One very important point to mention is that you will need to use thinner, wax-coated floss versus regular floss, as there are many metal pieces to catch a piece of floss and unwaxed floss is way more likely to get stuck and make things more complicated.
Here are some general guidelines for flossing with braces:
- Do it once a day
- Floss before you brush
- Be gentle, but not too gentle
- Use waxed floss
- Make it a habit
You need some special tools to floss when you have braces. Some of these items are absolutely needed and some are nice to have to make things easier for you.
- Floss threaders
- Waxed floss
- Interdental (or proxy) brushes
Nice to Have:
- Super Floss
- Dental Tape
- A water irrigator
- Fluoride rinse
You’ll start by pulling off a 12-18 inch piece of floss (about the distance from your fingertips or wrist to your elbow). Then you can follow these steps:
- Pull one end of the floss through the floss threader
- Put the tip of the threader under the wire of your braces and gently pull it and the floss through
- Hold the threader in your hand and wrap the ends of the floss around your index fingers
- Gently press the floss between the teeth and slide it up and down the sides of each tooth
- Gently pull the floss out from between the teeth (if you pull too hard you may also pull the wire out)
- Pull the floss out from the wire
- Rethread and repeat the process between each set of teeth
- Finish by brushing your teeth thoroughly
Periodontal (gum) disease affects most people at some point in their lives according to the Centers for Disease Control. Periodontal disease leads to tooth decay and is an indicator in a host of other diseases like heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Luckily, if caught early, it can be easily reversed. Flossing is the number one defense against periodontal disease. If you’d like to learn more about periodontal disease, read our Why Should I Floss blog.
Flossing with braces is a bit more time consuming than without braces, but keep in mind this is important for your overall health. A straight, beautiful smile won’t last long if you have periodontal disease. Besides, your teeth will move a lot faster with healthy gums!
At Walton & Maready Orthodontics, we take the overall health of your mouth seriously. We want you to have a beautiful, healthy smile when you are done with your orthodontic treatment which is why we are so passionate about flossing.
You’ll learn the proper technique for flossing with braces before you leave our office and, if you ever need a refresher, we’re glad to help. We’ll also let you know at your check-ups if you’re doing a good job or if there might be some areas you need to concentrate on more when flossing.