5 Easy Ways to Floss with Braces
Besides having to use a special type of brush, change your diet, get some orthodontic wax, and having to overcome some pain, you must also know how to floss with braces. Alas, one more thing to add to the plethora of cares you must have when wearing those metal brackets, right? Not really! Here in Orthodontex, where your smile is our specialty, we thrive to make your experience as seamless and painless as possible.
Luckily, whether you are using the traditional old flosser or using a specialized type, getting the job done becomes so much easier once you get the hang of it. If you are a parent of a child that just had their braces on, get on to help them out. Play some music during the process, perhaps.
Behold these 5 super easy ways to floss with braces and not die in the process. You’ll see it is all fun after all!
Using your Typical Dental Floss
Become a master floss bender using the traditional floss you used before getting braces. It is all the same thing except that now you need to overcome a bracket and a wire here and there. These new pieces on your teeth also mean that there are more corners for your floss to get trapped in. So, our first tip for you is to use waxed dental floss. Unwaxed dental floss is more likely to thread and get stuck on your brackets.
- Start with a piece of floss about 1 foot long (12-18 inches; 30 – 46 cm). This will slightly vary with the size of your hands and mouth.
- Hold the floss a few inches from the end and carefully thread it under the main wire of your braces, making sure it does not get stuck. Pull it so that there is enough space for you to grab from both ends.
- Tighten both ends of the floss around your index fingers. Move one index finger inside your mouth and gently pull the floss up between your teeth. Basically, you move the floss between the gap between your teeth and then push it up into the gap.
- Now that the floss is between your teeth, gently move it up and down and scrub between your teeth.
- Carefully pull out the floss making sure it does not get stuck on the brackets.
There you go, you just flossed between your first pair of teeth. Repeat for the other spaces. Don’t despair, flossing like this will take at least three times the amount of time that it took when you did not have braces. With time, these steps will become second nature to you.
With a Floss Threader
Not digging using your bare hands to floss? No problem. There are other alternatives that you can try. One of them is a floss threader. This instrument is like a big plastic needle. So, instead of using your hand to thread the floss, you use a floss threader.
- Thread the floss through the eye of the threader, just like you would do with a needle.
- Introduce the plastic threader under the archwire of your braces and pull the floss through.
- Now repeat all the steps from the section above to floss between all your teeth.
Using an Oral Irrigator
An oral irrigator, also known as dental water jets, or, more commonly, Waterpicks (which is actually the name of a brand), are great tools to wash between your teeth. You can find a water flosser at a cost of around $50 and it is pretty easy to use. This method uses a pressurized stream of water to remove fragments of food between the teeth and the gumline.
- Fill the reservoir with water. If you’d like some added bacteria-killing agent, add some mouthwash. But that is not really necessary.
- Insert the tapered tip into the water flosser.
- Place the tip of the flosser in your mouth and turn the oral irrigator on.
- Make sure the water pressure is strong enough for you and keep your lips closed to prevent water from splashing out of your mouth.
- Stream between all your teeth and along the gumline.
With Dental Tape
If you feel that the floss is not really your thing or that you can’t really handle a jetstream to your gums, you can still use dental tape. Now, when your gums bleed with flossing it is normally due to unhealthy gums or due to swelling from the orthodontic treatment.
Flossing is the most effective way of removing food and even plaque from between your teeth in most cases. While your gums get healthier, you can use a soft spongy dental tape. This is an ultra-thin floss that is wide like a ribbon. In this way, it glides between teeth more easily.
This makes it more comfortable to use than dental floss. Use it the same way you would use the traditional floss.
Some Other Options
Talk to our orthodontist about other options or alternatives to flossing with braces. Here at Orthodontex we are more than happy to help. Some options to consider are:
- A proxy brush is a small pointed brush with bristles shaped like a pine tree. Their shape makes them perfect to clean between braces. You simply insert the brush under the wire and between the teeth. Proxy brushes do not substitute flossing, though.
- An orthodontic brush is especially designed to brush behind braces and other orthodontic devices. Just like with proxy brushes, orthodontic brushes do not substitute flossing but are to be used with flossing.
- You can also consider an electric brush. If used properly, they clean a lot better than traditional toothbrushes.
Taking care of your teeth while using braces definitely takes more time and dedication. But it is important to keep your teeth and gums always healthy. In the end, you will see the effort pay off when you enjoy a beautiful smile.
Contact us and let us talk about how we can improve your smile. We have the best alternatives and a warm family environment. Here’s to a perfect and healthy smile.