You’ve heard it time and time again: flossing is essential to keeping your teeth healthy and clean. If you’ve heard your dentist say this during an exam, you might have protested that it’s too difficult to floss when wearing braces.
We don’t blame you. Flossing can be really challenging if you have braces, but it doesn’t make it any less important. Flossing cleans the hard-to-reach places that can be easily missed by brushes, and this becomes even more likely if you have braces, brackets, and wires that are getting in the way.
If you have braces we’re here to help you become a flossing pro. Keep reading to learn about different flossing methods and other tips to keep your teeth healthy and bright.
Flossing Methods for Braces
Depending on your needs and preferences, there are multiple techniques you can use to floss your teeth when you have braces.
Traditional flossing is one of the best ways to clean food and plaque from between your teeth. When you have braces, traditional flossing can take some time, but once you know how to do it efficiently, it’ll get easier.
If you recently got braces, or you’re just learning how to floss with braces, it might take you 10 to 15 minutes to floss your teeth. For this method, all you need is waxed floss, and to follow these steps:
- Cut a piece of floss to be 18-24 inches long
- Thread the floss between the main wire & your teeth
- Gently press the floss between the two teeth, sliding along both sides
- Remove the floss, & gently unthread it from behind the wire
- Move to the next pair of teeth, & repeat the process
A floss threader is a small, plastic tool designed to help you floss behind wires more easily. A floss threader can significantly cut down your flossing time, especially if you’re new to flossing with braces.
Follow these instructions to use a floss threader when wearing braces:
- Pull an 18-24 inch piece of waxed floss through the floss threader
- Insert the thinnest part of the floss threader under the wire of your braces
- Gently pull the floss through the wire & gently press the floss between the two teeth
- Gently pull the floss out from between the teeth, & pull the floss out from behind the wire
- Rethread the floss threader, & repeat the process on every tooth
If you’re interested in using a floss threader, you can buy them at most grocery stores or pharmacies. You can also ask your dentist if they have any sample threaders so you can see if it’s a good technique for you before buying an entire bag.
A Water Flosser
If flossing with braces seems like it’ll be too time-consuming, a water flosser might be a better method for you. A water flosser is a tool that uses water to clean plaque and food from between teeth.
A water flosser is very efficient and can help you cut down your flossing time to only 3 minutes once you get used to the technique.
Follow these instructions to floss with a Water Flosser:
- Fill your water flosser with the appropriate amount of water
- Insert the tip on the water flosser
- Place the tip of the flosser in your mouth & turn the water flosser on, guiding the water stream along the gumline & between each tooth
- When you’re finished, empty the remaining water, dry the flosser tip, & store it in a closed container
If flossing is painful for you, dental tape is an alternative to traditional floss that may be better suited to you. Whether you have sensitive gums, you haven’t flossed in a while, or you’re prone to bleeding, you can use dental tape until your gums become healthier.
Dental tape is a type of ultrathin floss that is thinner, smoother, and wider than traditional floss, helping you guide it between your teeth more easily. You can use dental tape the exact same way you would traditional floss.
Additional Hygiene Tips for People with Braces
Flossing isn’t the only important step of your hygiene routine that needs to continue when you get braces. To achieve a bright smile, make sure you maintain your regular brushing routine. Additionally, you can follow these tips to keep your teeth healthy while wearing braces:
- See your dentist regularly for exams & cleanings
- Avoid using whitening toothpaste to keep the colour of your teeth consistent when wearing braces
- Consider switching to an electric toothbrush
- Test out multiple hygiene methods for braces to find which works best for you
Do You Have Questions?
During your regular dental exam, we can help you find the best way to care for your teeth while you have braces. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns at any point, please don’t hesitate to call us! Our team is always happy to help you.