Flossing with braces can sometimes be complicated, so here are our expert tips to make it easier for you or your child!
Whenever any of our patients begin their braces treatment, we’ll always take the time to teach them how they can take care of their smile throughout their treatment process. But of course it’s safe to say that knowing what to do and actually implementing new techniques are very different from one another.
Most patients tend to need a little bit of time when it comes to learning how to floss with braces, and this is exactly why we’ll be providing our ultimate guide so you can have everything you need to understand proper flossing techniques while wearing braces!
Why Exactly Is It So Important To Floss While Wearing Braces?
Flossing with or without braces on a daily basis is incredibly important for your overall oral health, and this is largely because flossing is the most effective way to eliminate food debris and plaque that gets trapped in between your teeth and deep underneath your gumline where your toothbrush won’t be capable of reaching. Flossing is actually responsible for removing nearly half of all plaque within a person’s mouth, and combining flossing with thorough brushing goes a long way to lower the overall chances of gum disease and tooth decay.
Braces patients just so happen to have many more places for bacteria, plaque and food debris to hide, and this is why orthodontic patients are more likely to experience gum inflammation and cavities when they aren’t exhibiting consistently good oral hygiene routines. Your teeth will also shift much more efficiently when they’re in a healthy oral environment, so properly flossing and brushing while wearing braces is a great way to keep your treatment on schedule!
How Often Should A Braces Patient Floss Their Teeth?
Our recommendation is to floss at least once each day, but you of course can floss whenever you have the time or something has gotten stuck in your teeth as well. There really aren’t any rules when it comes to what time of day you floss!
However, it’s important to know that flossing at night is a really good strategy to eliminate bacteria, plaque and food particles that have been accumulating throughout the course of your day.
Should You Brush Or Floss First?
This is a common question that many oral health professionals get, and the general consensus throughout the orthodontic industry is that flossing before brushing does a significantly better job at eliminating plaque.
You can also reap the benefits of your toothpaste more when you floss before brushing, which goes even further to eliminate plaque and strengthen your tooth enamel.
So our general advice is to floss first and then brush afterwards when possible!
What Type Of Floss Is Best For Braces?
It’s always best to utilize waxed dental floss due to the fact that your wires and brackets can potentially shred up and get entangled with unwaxed floss. Beyond this, flossing with braces becomes a personal preference.
Some people prefer traditional dental floss, and some people would rather use a floss threader. Orthodontic flossers are also good options to keep in mind because they can help you cut down on the overall time it takes to floss with braces.
Water flossers are also becoming incredibly popular options for braces patients in recent years, but it’s important to note that this type of flossing should be additional to your orthodontic flosser or traditional floss.
Flossing With Braces Using Traditional Dental Floss
Using traditional dental floss while wearing braces is always a very effective way to eliminate plaque and unwanted bacteria from in between your teeth, but it does usually take a little bit longer as compared to an orthodontic flosser or floss threader.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when using traditional dental floss:
- Use about 18 inches of waxed dental floss.
- Carefully thread one end of the floss between your teeth and arch wire, and use your other hand to grab the end of the floss as it comes through.
- Then wrap the floss with your index fingers and make sure you’re only leaving a few inches between your teeth so that the floss is tight.
- Glide the floss up and down the surface of a tooth and make a C-shape when you reach the gums. Then repeat this process on the other side of the tooth.
- Remove the floss from behind your archwire and repeat this process on the next set of teeth until you’ve properly flossed all your teeth.
Using A Floss Threader When Wearing Braces
Floss threaders make flossing with braces a little bit easier, and floss threaders are special pieces of flexible plastic that help make regular floss more braces-friendly. Follow the below steps when using a floss threader during your braces treatment:
- Use about 18 inches of waxed dental floss.
- Put one end of the floss through the floss threaders, and then pull around six inches of the floss through the threader’s loop.
- Carefully put the other end of your floss through your archwire, and then pull the floss through so you can properly grip it with both hands.
- Wrap the floss around your index fingers until there’s only a few inches of floss between your teeth.
- Floss up and down making the same C-shape movements at the base of each tooth so you’re gently flossing the areas between your teeth and gums.
- Then remove your floss from behind your archwire and use the floss threader again to properly floss the next set of teeth. Repeat this process until you’ve effectively flossed all your teeth.
Flossing With An Orthodontic Flosser
Orthodontic flossers truly are a great tool for braces patients because they make the entire flossing process much easier and faster. One thing to keep in mind with orthodontic flossers is that they do end up being more expensive as compared to traditional dental floss over the course of a treatment period.
Below are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to flossing with an orthodontic flosser:
- Place your orthodontic flosser’s rounded end underneath your archwire so your floss will be properly positioned between two teeth.
- Glide the flosser across the surface of the tooth’s side and underneath the tooth’s gumline, then do the same on the other adjacent tooth.
- You’ll then gently pull the orthodontic flosser out and place it between the next set of teeth, and repeat this process until you’ve thoroughly flossed all your teeth.
Reach Out To JK Orthodontics To Learn More About Flossing With Braces And Taking Care Of Your Orthodontic Appliances!
JK Orthodontics has been an orthodontic industry leader in the Columbus area for over 30 years, so we’ve seen the progression of flossing with braces firsthand and have supported countless patients with the above methods.
Contact us online or call us at 614-766-0330 (Dublin office) or 614-471-6355 (Gahanna office) to schedule your first consultation appointment with Dr. Karpac today!