How to Floss With Braces
While daily flossing is an important part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums, it’s even more crucial when you have braces. Food can easily get stuck in the wires and bands, which can increase your risk for gum disease and cavities. However, just because you wear braces doesn’t mean it’s too difficult to floss. This step-by-step guide will show you how to properly floss with braces.
Choose the Right Type of Floss
Unwaxed floss can get caught in your braces and shreds too easily. That’s why it’s better to choose waxed floss when you wear braces. If your teeth are really close together and it’s too difficult to get the standard size floss between them, you can purchase smaller gauge floss. If you find you’re having problems with waxed floss shredding, you can also pick up floss made specifically for braces, which is stiffer and heavier than traditional floss.
Floss Before or After Brushing
For most people, it doesn’t matter whether you floss before or after you brush your teeth. However, you should check with your orthodontist since certain types of braces require you to brush before or after. If it doesn’t matter, pick one and stick with it. This will make it a routine and easier to remember. Many people choose to floss after brushing, but if you decide to floss first, make sure you rinse your mouth out with water before you begin to loosen any food particles between your teeth.
Take Your Time
Even if you don’t have braces, a quick swipe of floss isn’t enough to clean between your teeth. Each crevice needs attention to make sure it gets a thorough cleaning. You should use around 18 inches of floss to make sure you have enough to hold while you work. Carefully thread the floss under the main wire of your braces and move it up and down along each side of your tooth. Then slide the floss out and repeat the same process on the next pair of teeth.
Use A Floss Threader
If you find it difficult to thread the floss under the braces wire and between your teeth, a floss threader can help you. This device mimics sewing with a needle and thread. Simply inset the floss through the eye of the floss threader and use the needle to guide the floss into place. Then, you can continue to floss as usual.
Consider an Alternative to Floss
String floss isn’t the only type of tool available to floss your teeth. A dental floss pick is a plastic tool that has a curved end with floss, and a plastic pick similar to a toothpick on the other end. The plastic pick creates an ideal handle that makes the dental floss pick easy to maneuver, especially when reaching behind your back teeth.
While braces might make flossing a little tricky, it’s certainly not a step you should skip. With enough practice, you can master the technique of flossing with braces and enjoy a clean and healthy mouth.
Image via Flickr by lorenkerns