2 Tips For Flossing With Braces

Posted on: 16 December 2014

While your orthodontist will tell you that keeping up with regular brushing and flossing while wearing braces is critical, this advice cannot prepare you for the first time you to try to floss your teeth after getting braces.

Flossing without braces is simple enough — you systemically work one piece of floss around your gum lines to clear away plaque and food debris. With braces, however, the floss must be carefully inserted under and around the wires in the spaces in-between your teeth.

Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind the first time you stand in front of the mirror with metal in your mouth and floss in your hand.

1. Fold wax floss to make it easier to insert under metal wires.

If you try to stick a normal piece of floss between your teeth, you may notice that the floss bends and will not easily slide under the wires that span the space between each tooth. To prevent this problem, you can take a piece of wax floss and make it thicker on one end. To do so, take the end of a piece of floss and slightly fold it over itself. The wax on the floss will allow the folded end to stick together and become like a single piece. Once it is folded, you can then thread the floss under your wires and get to the gum lines surrounding each tooth.

2. Find the right tool for the moment.

Food can get stuck around the brackets on each tooth in such a way that no piece of floss can safely remove it. For these situations, there are a variety of different flossing aids available. The dental hygiene aisle at a pharmacy or grocery store will likely have a wide selection, and you will find the brushes stashed among the items marketed towards people with dentures. You can purchase small wire flossing brushes that have a cap over the bristles, allowing you to keep them handy in case food gets noticeably stuck in your braces when you are away from home. 

As with everything else in life, the best way to get better at flossing with braces is to practice. You will learn which tools to use and the best angles of approach to dislodge stubborn debris. If you make a habit of flossing in the same pattern each time you brush your teeth, in time it will become just another part of your daily routine. Ask a dentist, such as Leo R Cullinan DDS MS, about any questions you have regarding oral health.