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If you wear braces, you know that you’re taking the right steps to achieve a beautifully straight and healthy smile. But while your braces align your teeth and fix any gaps, it’s still crucial for you to practice good oral hygiene like brushing and flossing.
[Related: Your Guide to Flossing]
Why Is Flossing With Braces Important?
Your braces can make it even more difficult to find and dislodge trapped food debris, which is why flossing is so important.
Knowing how to floss with braces can reduce your chances of getting gum disease and cavities, as well as allow the braces to more effectively align your smile. Flossing properly while wearing braces removes plaque and particles between your teeth in hard-to-reach spots where toothbrushes can’t reach. It also helps clean sticky sugars and other kinds of buildup from around your braces wires and gumline.
How To Floss Your Teeth With Braces
You have several methods for how to floss teeth with braces, but it’s ultimately all about finding the one that works best for you. Here are some of the most common ways of flossing with braces.
If you were accustomed to flossing the traditional way before you got braces, then you should know a few things before picking up your regular floss.
First off, you should always use waxed dental floss to avoid shredding.
You also might even find yourself flossing more frequently to clear your braces of food debris. With that in mind, make sure you’re familiar with these instructions for flossing with normal dental floss:
- Use a piece of dental floss around 18 inches long.
- Thread one end between your braces wire and your tooth.
- Pull the floss through, and wrap each end around your index fingers.
- Use comfortable pressure to place the floss between your teeth.
- Hold the floss in a C shape, and floss at the base and the sides of your tooth.
- Remove the floss, and repeat the steps for the next tooth.
If it’s helpful, you can find instructional videos online. They give you a good visual on how to floss with braces on.
[Related: Four Signs You Might Need a New Retainer]
One way to make flossing with braces easier is to use a floss threader, aka an orthodontic flosser. A floss threader is a small, thin, flexible tool with a large loop on a handle. The tool makes it simple to pull dental floss through your teeth and braces wires.
To use a floss threader, follow these steps:
- Thread traditional waxed dental floss through the loop on the handle, and you can also tie the floss to the loop for security.
- Insert the handle end of the threader between your wire and tooth.
- Pull the threader through the space until it passes completely and threads the floss through.
- Floss at the sides and the base of your tooth by the gumline.
- Remove the floss, and repeat the steps for your other teeth.
Like traditional flossing techniques, it’s easy to find online instructional videos for using a floss threader.
Another method that can help you learn how to floss with braces is a water flosser. As an additional step to your daily oral hygiene routine, a water flosser is extremely effective at deep-cleaning between your teeth and around your braces.
A water flosser shoots a thin stream of water at your teeth and gums to wash away food debris and plaque. This tool can help you target hard-to-reach spots that your toothbrush can’t properly clean without using traditional floss.
People who don’t like to use floss for some reason (it’s too tedious, it’s difficult to remember, etc.) may find they prefer water flossers. Plus, water flossers are great for people with arthritis because the tool’s much easier to maneuver than floss.
Check out this great instructional video. It demonstrates how to use a specific brand of water flosser, the Waterpik.
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