How to Floss with Braces

by maria | Last Updated: July 18, 2020

You are not alone; almost everyone struggles with bad breath. One major reason is the food particles that remain stuck between your teeth, which your normal brush cannot remove. So, it is better to build a habit of effective flossing and brushing to have a confident smile.   

Plaque and food items between your teeth generate acid that creates cavities, irritates your gums. Flossing gets into space between a pair of teeth and removes bacteria. So, the question isn’t about the effectiveness of flossing in keeping your breath fresh and dental system healthy, but, how to do it so that any long-term injury could be avoided. It becomes more important and challenging as well if you are wearing braces. 


Effective Flossing with Braces

Your braces tell that you are more than ready to have a straight and more confident smile in just a few months.  Since braces are external implants on your teeth; you have to pay additional attention to keep it clean and healthy. Regular flossing and brushing are of great value in keeping your teeth and gum healthy. The additional time you are going to invest in flossing with braces will keep you away from the worries of tooth decay, gum disease, and above all help braces align your teeth perfectly for an extra confident smile. 


Traditional Flossing


The time-tested traditional flossing technique using thread made of nylon or Teflon is the best way to keep your breath fresh. However, it might be a little tricky and time taking if you are wearing braces. It is better to use waxed floss as normal floss could break and get stuck in braces.

First of all, cut a piece of floss of 18- to 24-inch length. 

Now, wrap the ends of the floss around your index fingers. Be in front of the mirror to start threading the floss between the main wire and your teeth.

The best way to start threading is to gently press it between teeth, and then slide it up and down. 

Try to follow U shape movement between teeth.

Be careful while removing the floss, as extra force could knock the wire and pop it out of the bracket. 

Repeat the process, until you are done with all your teeth. 


Waterpik or Oral Irrigator


If you are not comfortable using waxed floss, as it might trigger mild bleeding from gum, you can use waterpik. In this technique, the water stream is used for flushing plaque. Some brands offer custom-designed tapered tips to make it more effective in flossing with braces. Although waterpiks are costlier, it could help you save time. 

You have to fill the waterpik water reservoir. You can add an anti-bacterial mouthwash for better refreshing results.  

Then plug the tip on the oral irrigator and test the pressure of water flow. 

Go near the sink and place the flosser tip in your mouth. Close your mouth before turning the switch on. 

Let the water drain out of your mouth and keep on gliding water flow between each tooth and gum line. 

Once done, you can mildly brush your teeth to remove remaining plaques. 

Don’t forget to empty the water tank and dry it before moving it to a safe container. 


Floss Threader


It is a great tool for those wearing braces as it helps you pull floss behind wires easily. This plastic tool could cut your flossing time significantly. 

First of all, cut approx 18 inches of waxed floss from the floss threader and wrap it around your index fingers.  

Then, insert the plastic needle under the wire and pull the floss through the wire. 

Press the floss between teeth and slide it gently up and down. For better results, move it in U shape along the sides.

Be careful in removing the floss. 


Dental Tape


If you are not a regular flosser, then it could be a little painful to start flossing using the traditional technique. In some cases, this could start bleeding from gum. If your gums are sensitive, then ultra-thin and spongy dental tape could be of great help. The process of using it is the same as the traditional flossing. 

It is all about practicing to have healthy dental hygiene while wearing braces. Orthodontists recommend flossing once a day. Whatever technique you are using, be careful about quality and safety. It is better to cut thread more than 18-inches to avoid any chance of snapping. Start with treading under the main wire of braces and then move it between teeth. 

Maria Giovanisci is an enterprising dentist from London. Maria graduated from the University of Murcia and began her professional career in her own dental clinic before, she decided to embark on a joint project with her two colleagues. Aside from contributing on this blog, she also works in the public health sector at the new Torrevieja Hospital.

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