Getting braces means making a few adjustments to your daily life. You may need to change your eating habits as well as your oral hygiene habits. Brushing your teeth with braces requires a slightly different technique to make sure you get your teeth clean. Flossing must also be done differently now that your archwire is in place.
When you are new to braces it is normal to have questions. One common question is: How do you floss with braces? Here are some tried and true techniques.
Basic Flossing Method
The most basic way to floss with braces is to thread a string of floss under your archwire before wrapping it around your fingers and sliding it in between your teeth. You’ll need to thread the floss underneath your archwire in between each tooth, repeating this process throughout your mouth.
One way to make the above basic flossing method easier is to use a floss threader. This device is made of plastic and resembles a large sewing needle. It is not sharp, but it is tapered at one end with an eye on the other end to thread the floss through. This device makes it easier to thread the floss under your archwire. After using the threader to get the floss under your archwire, you wrap the floss around your fingers and slide it between your teeth. You will need to repeat the process between every tooth. We are happy to provide floss threaders to our patients throughout treatment!
Superfloss is a combination of the two previous flossing methods. Superfloss has a reinforced end that is stiff like the end of a shoestring. This makes it easier to thread the floss under your archwire without having to use a floss threader. Superfloss also includes a thicker, spongy portion that helps to clean larger gaps between teeth.
A waterpik, also known as a water flosser, is a machine that uses pressurized water to clean plaque out from the spaces between your teeth. It includes a tool with a tapered end that the water sprays out of. You simply place the tool in the space between your teeth so that the water sprays through. Then move it throughout your mouth to reach each tooth. A waterpik is an adjunct to flossing but does not replace traditional floss.
Why is Flossing Important? Can’t I Just Skip It While I’m in Braces?
Flossing is an important part of your dental and oral health. The purpose of flossing is to remove the food and plaque that forms in the spaces between your teeth and in the pockets between your teeth and your gums. Flossing prevents cavities from forming in between your teeth and helps you avoid gum disease.
Most patients will need to wear braces for at least a year, most likely longer. If you skip flossing for the entire time you are in braces, you are at a high risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Braces increase the risk of tooth decay in general because it is more difficult to keep your teeth clean. It is necessary to be diligent about oral hygiene during your time in braces.
Have Questions About Dental Care and Braces? Ask Dr. Suzanne Stock
If you have questions about flossing, brushing, and other dental hygiene techniques, Dr. Suzanne Stock’s office is available to help. As an experienced orthodontist, Dr. Stock can recommend the best methods for taking care of your teeth while you’re wearing braces. We will provide you with the tools you need to keep your teeth clean and healthy.