Braces can complicate a lot of things, including flossing. Flossing is an important part of your dental care routine, so we’re here to help. Here are some tips and tools to help make flossing with braces a bit simpler and easier.
Starting With the Right Tools
Flossing with braces can seem difficult at first, especially if you don’t have the right tools to make the job easier. When you first get your braces, your orthodontist will likely provide you with a threader and some dental picks. Use them! They’ll help a lot.
Dental picks are fairly straightforward to use as they are like small rubber toothpicks with a plastic handle. They are super handy for cleaning under your braces wires and between the brackets.
The floss threader can seem a bit more complicated if you’re not used to using one. It looks like a small loop of stiff plastic and is designed to help you thread floss between teeth. Simply slip the floss through the loop of the threader and use the threader to pull the floss between your teeth. It’s quite easy once you get the hang of it!
How to Floss
The basics of how to floss with braces is essentially the same as flossing without braces, once you get used to using a threader. Start with an 18 inch length strand of waxed or shred-free floss. You may think that you won’t need this much floss, but you should use a fresh, clean section of the floss for each tooth that you floss. Once you’ve cut your floss, use the floss threader to get the string under the wire of your braces. This can be done by pushing the plastic threader between your teeth, closer to the gumline.
Now you’re ready to begin flossing! Once the floss is under the wire, grab each end of the string between your middle finger and thumb. Next, wrap the floss around the middle finger of each hand until your fingers are about 2-3 inches apart. Now you can use the string to clean the gum line. To effectively clean this space, you should adapt the string so it is in a “C” shape, touching the tongue and cheek sides of the tooth while working. Take the string gently to the gumline and scoop the bacteria from the space.
It may take a few extra minutes while you’re getting the hang of it, but you will soon master the skill of flossing.
Ask for a Demonstration
If this sounds confusing or it feels difficult to get the hang of flossing with braces, talk with your orthodontist. They can demonstrate the correct way to floss each area and walk you through step by step. Practice makes perfect, so don’t worry if it’s not easy yet. Just keep practicing!
Also, don’t be afraid to keep asking for tips anytime you run into any problem areas that are hard to clean as your teeth shift throughout orthodontic treatment. Dental hygiene is important and your orthodontist will be happy if you ask for support. Learning to floss with braces can feel like a lot of effort at the beginning, but when you get to show off your sparkling bright smile at the end of treatment, you’ll be so proud of all your hard work!
Call our office to make an appointment with Dr. Pham who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.