You probably know that flossing is part of a good daily oral hygiene routine, but when you first get your braces, you may find it more difficult to floss between your teeth. This is because the brackets of your braces are linked together with a wire that hinders your ability to floss normally. Thankfully, there are products on the market that can help you get the floss under your wires. This will allow you to floss between your teeth from the wire to your gum line.
Flossing with Braces
Getting braces adds a bit of time and inconvenience to your schedule when you’re first starting out. When flossing with braces, our orthodontist in Melbourne recommends using standard floss that is waxed. We do not recommend the use of unwaxed floss because it can separate and shred, which can result in floss bits getting stuck between your teeth and in your brackets and wires. In order to get the floss under your wire, you’ll need to use a floss threader, which can be purchased at any big box retailer or pharmacy. A floss threader is a stiff, looped string of durable plastic that resembles little lassos.
1. Get Your Supplies Ready
Take one floss threader out of the package and lay it on your clean bathroom counter. Next, break off a piece of floss that is between 12 and 18 inches long.
2. Thread the Floss Through the Floss Threader
Floss, by itself, is so flimsy it is difficult to thread underneath the wires. For this reason, you will need to thread your waxed floss through the loop on the threader. This is very similar to how you’d thread a needle if you were going to repair a hole in a garment or sew a loose hem or button on a pair of pants. You’ll want to make sure that you pull several inches of floss through the loop so that it does not slide out while you thread the floss through your teeth.
3. Thread the Floss Through Your Teeth
Next, place the straight end of the floss threader under the wire between two of your teeth and gently push it though. Once you have it far enough between your teeth, you should be able to grip it from behind your teeth and finish pulling the threader and the floss through your teeth. The importance of flossing with braces becomes amplified because you also have to ensure you’re cleaning the brackets as you go along as well.
The area around the brackets and the brackets themselves are cleaned using good brushing techniques.
4. Remove the Threader
Once you have finished threading floss under the wire, remove the threader from the floss and place it on your bathroom counter. Be careful not to accidentally pull the floss from under the wire until you are done flossing this area.
5. Floss Between Your Teeth
Grip the floss on each end and gently move the floss up and down between your gums and your teeth on each side to loosen and remove food particles and plaque.
6. Slide the Floss Out From Between Your Teeth
Once you are finished flossing between your teeth and gums, gently slide the floss out from between your teeth.
7. Move On To The Next Position
Floss each interproximal area in both the upper and lower arches.
8. Repeat These Steps
You’ll need to repeat these steps for every tooth you need to floss until you have flossed between all of your teeth. This usually takes 10 minutes, which is significantly longer than flossing without braces. It is usually best to floss at night, but if you can only find time in the morning, that is certainly better than not flossing at all.
There is a product called Superfloss that is also helpful and it can be used in place of the combination of the floss threader and floss. It is basically a piece of floss with a stiff end already attached, that allows you to avoid the use of the threader. The main idea of getting under the wire is the same, but this is a good time saver for most people.
Flossing After Meals
While you have your braces, you will also want to remove food particles that may be stuck to your brackets and wires in order to maintain good oral hygiene. You can accomplish this by using an interdental brush. These brushes consist of a small handle and 360-degree bristles. To use this product, you’ll simply push the bristle head between your teeth and move it as if you were using traditional dental floss. It is important to note that interdental brushes are not a replacement for traditional floss. Instead, they are used between flossing sessions in order to help you keep your teeth clean.
To schedule your next orthodontic checkup with Reddick Orthodontics or to see if you’re flossing for braces correctly, call us today at 321-254-5232 or ask us a question here.