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James Karpac Orthodontics

Should Flossing Hurt? Tips On How To Floss Properly During Orthodontic Treatment

Flossing properly throughout orthodontic treatment can be a lot easier said than done!

rubber bands are a crucial part of every orthodontic treatment process


Flossing has always been a recommended oral hygiene habit for everyone to do at least twice each day, and this is something that should not be painful. However, there’s no denying that countless people do in fact experience pain while brushing or flossing each and every day.

What’s particularly alarming about this type or oral pain is that it’s many times a warning sign for different types of underlying health problems. Orthodontic patients will often struggle to floss through their braces, and flossing can trigger pain due to their gums and teeth being too sensitive.

Below we’ll be going over some of the common causes of gum pain and how you should be flossing during your orthodontic treatment!

Common Causes Of Gum Pain


There’s always the possibility that you brushed your teeth too hard prior to flossing, which could have inadvertently irritated your gums and caused flossing pain. But the most common underlying conditions that lead to persistent gum pain include the following:

  • Periodontitis: This is the term that’s used for advanced forms of gum disease, and it’s a serious infection that can damage your gum tissue, cause tooth loss and deteriorate bones. Gums that are affected by periodontitis will many times be consistently tender, red, painful, swollen and bleed easily while flossing.


  • Gingivitis: Gingivitis is a more common type of gum disease because it’s an early form of the disease. Persistently sore gums just so happen to be one of the most common warning signs associated with gingivitis. Plaque will build up each and every day on and in between our teeth, and neglecting this buildup of plaque can ultimately lead to your gum tissue becoming more tender and swollen. What’s particularly alarming about gingivitis is that it can lead to more serious forms of gum disease like periodontitis if neglected.


  • Poor Diet: When you or your child’s daily diet contains healthy amounts of calcium, vitamin C and other vital nutrients, you can dramatically reduce your overall risks associated with developing gum pain and gum disease. Some of the foods you should avoid in order to protect your gums throughout orthodontic treatment include candy, bread, carbonated drinks, citrus and alcohol.


Tobacco use and stress have also been scientifically linked to gum disease. Another common contributor to gum pain is a lacking of oral hygiene. It’s also possible that you’re using a toothbrush with hard bristles and simply need to use a softer brush or adjust your techniques while brushing.

And when you’re brushing you should always do your best to reach every tooth surface along your gum lines!


How Should You Be Flossing During Orthodontic Treatment?


Flossing daily is very important whether you’re going through orthodontic treatment or not; however, flossing is increasingly important for braces patients because excess amounts of plaque can get trapped within your orthodontic appliance and lead to unwanted oral health issues.

The following are some flossing tips to keep in mind:

  • Flossing with braces will require the use of a floss threader.
  • Use around 18-24 inches of floss and wind the majority of it around your middle fingers.
  • Hold the rest of the string with your index fingers and thumb to ensure that it’s fully taut.
  • Gently floss in between two teeth by gliding the floss up and down along the sides of your teeth.
  • Be sure to curve the floss in between your tooth and gums, and continue to glide the floss to release trapped plaque.
  • Avoid flossing too deeply into your gums, because this can potentially cause bruising.


When you’re going through orthodontic treatment and wearing braces, the entire process of flossing will inevitably be more complicated. The first thing that braces patients should keep in mind is that they should always utilize waxed floss, because this type of floss won’t tear or get stuck.

Braces patients should initiate their flossing by moving one end of the floss in between your teeth and the main wire. It’s important for braces patients to always be very gentle while fitting floss in between their teeth. You’ll end up flossing just like you would without braces, but you’ll need to unthread the floss from behind the wire and repeat the process for each tooth.


Reach Out To The Orthodontic Specialists At JK Orthodontics To Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today!


There’s no denying that flossing can be a bit more difficult for braces patients, but it’s incredibly important for all orthodontic patients to take flossing seriously throughout their treatment. Properly flossing will ensure you or your child’s overall oral health, which will make the entire treatment process much more efficient.

Flossing should never hurt, but our team will always be there for you when you’re experiencing any kind of pain or swelling due to your flossing routine.

Contact us online or call us at 614-766-0330 (Dublin office) or 614-471-6355 (Gahanna office) to get in touch with us and schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Karpac today!