Braces have a lot of benefits—you’ll have a beautiful new smile, a healthier bite, and improved dental health once your orthodontic treatment is complete. What’s not to love? Well, there’s the fact that your oral hygiene routine is a little bit more time consuming when you have braces on your teeth. Spending that extra time to get your teeth clean is a must, though, if you want to ensure that your teeth remain free of cavities and decay during your orthodontic treatment. Here are some tips on how to floss with braces.
Use Regular Dental Floss
Do you need to buy fancy tools and specialized dental floss to keep your teeth clean when you have braces? Nope! You can use the same waxed dental floss you’ve always used, it just takes a steadier hand and a little more time. (Don’t use unwaxed floss, because it can become frayed and torn when it comes into contact with your brackets.)
To use regular dental floss with braces, cut a piece that’s about 18 to 24 inches in length. Look in the mirror and thread it between the wire and your teeth. Then, floss as normal, going all the way up to the gum line and then down again. Unthread the floss from the wire and repeat on all of your teeth.
It’s recommended that you floss at least once a day, and we suggest doing so at night so you can remove all of the food particles from between your teeth before going to bed. If you can fit it into your routine, you might even want to floss after breakfast and lunch too.
Use a Water Flosser
A water flosser or Waterpik is a favorite of many of our patients because it makes cleaning between the teeth a faster, easier process. There are even Waterpik tips that are designed to clean around braces. Simply use your water flosser as directed, gliding it along your gum line and between each of your teeth from both the front and back.
Use a Floss Threader
A floss threader makes it easier to thread dental floss between your archwires and your teeth. You can find these tools at most pharmacies or supermarkets, usually alongside the dental floss. They can save you several minutes each day on flossing, which can be significant when you’re rushing out the door in the morning!
Use Dental Tape
If you didn’t floss regularly before getting braces, it’s important to make it a habit now that you have them. That said, it can be uncomfortable when you first start, so if that’s the case for you, we recommend flossing with dental tape instead of traditional dental floss. It’s smooth, spongy, and thinner than dental floss, so it moves between teeth more easily. You’ll thread it between your archwires and teeth just like dental floss, but it’s less likely to cause irritation or bleeding.