You might think that it’s not possible to live your best life with braces. After all, there are foods you need to avoid, soreness you might have to deal with, and then you also have to figure out how to keep your teeth clean. How in the world do you do that properly? Especially when you have gaps between your teeth where food can get stuck.
Don't sweat it. It's easy to live your best life with braces if you follow our flossing tips and tricks.
Use Ordinary Dental Floss
When using ordinary dental floss, there are some things to keep in mind. With braces, there's a lot of metal for the floss to get caught on, so you'll want to be extra careful and use waxed floss. Don't use unwaxed floss because it's more likely to become stuck.
How to Floss With Ordinary Dental Floss
To floss with braces with ordinary dental floss, you:
- Take 12 to 18 inches of floss and gently go behind the brace wire.
- Don't pull on the brace wire. It's not the wire you're trying to clean.
- Go between your teeth like normal. Some teeth may be tight.
- Slide the floss up and down to work on plaque.
- Remove the floss and unthread it gently from behind the braces’ wire.
- Don't pop the floss out of your tooth as you could pop the wire out of the bracket accidentally.
- Go on to your next pair of teeth, repeating the process.
Use a Floss Threader
Our second tip involves ordinary floss but it’s so much better! It’s called a floss threader. It makes the traditional flossing process quicker and it’s inexpensive. A floss threader is a small, plastic tool that makes it easier to get behind your teeth. It saves you from scraping your fingers. But, you'll still want to be gentle.
How to Use a Floss-Type Threader
To floss with braces with a floss instrument threader, you:
- Use 18 to 24 inches of waxed floss.
- You'll take the floss and thread it through the floss threader's eye.
- Insert the plastic needle point under your brace's wire. Pull the floss gently through the wire.
- With one hand, hold the floss threader and then wrap the floss in circles around your fingers (index) to provide you with more control over the thread.
- Press the floss gently between your two teeth, sliding it up and down on both sides of the teeth.
- Create a U shape (upside down) for top teeth, going up to the gum line on the tooth’s side and then you’ll want to go down the other tooth’s side.
- Pull the floss carefully out from between your teeth and from behind the wire.
- Repeat the process by rethreading the floss threader and moving on to the next set of teeth.
Use a Water Flosser
You might think that water isn’t a flosser, but you’d be wrong. Because using a water flosser is tip number three!
You can fix a special orthodontic tip on a water flosser which is designed for removing bacteria and food particles from between your teeth and braces. It's much easier to use a water flosser than having to thread floss between each bracket.
Dr. Laster recommends a water flosser to help with flossing. It's the easiest way to floss. You can add mouthwash to the water for antibacterial protection too.
The water flosser uses a steady water stream to clean along your gumline and between your teeth. The water stream is efficient in cleaning your mouth and teeth, and is our top tip for flossing with braces.
How to Floss Using a Water Flosser
To floss with a water flosser, you:
- Fill up the device's tank with water (optional — add mouthwash).
- Put the tip on the flosser and press to stream the water out of the device to ensure it's properly working and the pressure of water is adequate for you.
- Place the flosser's tip in your mouth and turn the flosser on.
- Keep the water from flowing out of your mouth by closing your lips.
- Glide the stream of water between the tooth and gum line.
- If needed, you can brush the brackets and teeth gently to loosen up debris or food.
- Spray along the gumline and between the teeth again.
- Repeat the process on the back and front of each tooth.
- Empty the water reservoir when you're done and dry the flosser’s tip.
- Protect the tip by storing it in a closed container.
Embracing Your Braces
If you've just had your braces put on, you may have trouble embracing them. If so, you'll want to take some time to learn how to wear your braces with confidence. Remember, your braces are creating a perfect smile. You'll also want to see Dr. Laster for adjustments and checkups.
We Just Couldn’t Resist
We made it all the way to the end of this blog about flossing without one single gratuitous flossing dance clip. We can’t wait anymore.
At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to Propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster's in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.