Flossing with Braces: Effective Oral Hygiene During Orthodontic Treatment

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Wearing braces shouldn’t affect your teeth and gum health, and this is only possible if you follow a strict oral hygiene maintenance regime. 

Flossing Braces

Flossing with braces might appear difficult to you, but we’ll show how to make flossing with braces easier. We will guide you through flossing techniques and tools that will help remove food particles and debris from between the surfaces of your teeth. 

Floss While Wearing Braces Is Important For You 

How do braces affect your oral hygiene? 

Teeth with braces and archwires seek additional care. Food debris easily accumulates between the teeth and, if not removed, can lead to cavities and gum diseases like gingivitis.

During orthodontic treatment with braces, your teeth move within the jaw. This movement creates an additional space between the teeth, allowing debris and food particles to accumulate. This further increases the risk of oral diseases. 

Brushing and flossing are integral to maintaining oral health. Toothbrushes alone cannot reach hard-to-reach areas, and people with braces have additional difficulty brushing.

Using a floss threader or other flossing tools can make access to these areas easy, helping you observe an immaculate oral hygiene routine. 

Common Challenges Associated with Flossing and Braces

Flossing is challenging, and the floss thread may get stuck between the teeth, wires, and brackets, which may be tough to remove.

Furthermore, the floss may shred or fray while maneuvering. This may lead to gum bleeding due to trauma and is one of the major reasons why individuals avoid flossing with braces.

Usually, the dental floss gets stuck between the tight tooth spaces and gets stuck in the area beneath the point where two teeth meet.

interdental toothbrushes

This space is commonly referred to as interdental space, and interdental toothbrushes are used to clean this area.

Look For These 4 Things In Dental Floss  

When looking for an ideal dental floss for your braces, you need to look for the following:

1) Thickness:

Dental floss comes in variable thicknesses, from ultra-thin to thick. Using thicker floss is advisable, as it’s less likely to shear and break when passed through wires and braces. 

2) Built-in Threader or Stiff End

Some floss has a built-in threader and stiff end, making the flossing process easier and more effective. 

3) Wax coated or uncoated

Wax-coated floss glides easily between the braces when compared to the unwaxed one. 

4) Flavour and Scent

Some floss is integrated with flavors to make flossing more enjoyable. It makes your experience better.

Choosing the Right Flossing Tools for Braces

Getting used to flossing habits might appear challenging, but this challenge is easily surpassed with the invention of new flossing tools. We have some great picks to help you adopt your flossing routine. 

Floss Picks 

Flossing is integral to the oral hygiene maintenance routine, but it may sound challenging for individuals with braces.

Floss Picks 

Floss picks for braces offer a convenient alternative to dental floss, particularly for younger children. Their user-friendly design streamlines flossing and requires no threading and maneuvering around wires and braces. 

The floss picks are designed to easily navigate between the teeth and beneath the archwire, making them accessible in hard-to-reach areas. 

Traditional floss may take 5 minutes or so to clean effectively, whereas the floss picks can be done quickly. 

Although floss picks offer various benefits, they are typically discarded after a single use, which builds up waste.

How to use floss picks for braces? 

1) Slide it between the archwire and teeth.

2) Guide it between the teeth. Ensure it reaches the gum line 

3) Press it against the tooth and swap it up and down to clean the plaque and debris 

Dental Floss 

Traditional dental floss always tops the list of dental floss options on the market. The contemporary form of dental floss is a super floss that comes pre-cut with one stiffened end to facilitate cleaning under the archwire and between teeth. 

Dental Floss 

It also features a spongy design that allows debris to be removed from beneath the gumline, making it an ideal substitute for traditional floss.

When opting for regular floss, it is advisable to use waxed ones, as they reduce the risk of shredding during use.

The use of traditional dental floss seeks an enhanced level of dexterity and requires more time and effort for cleaning. 

How can traditional dental floss for braces be effectively used? 

1) Brush your teeth with the right brushing technique.

2) Cut a 12 to 18-inch piece of floss. Ensure it’s long enough to maneuver around the braces and between the teeth.

3) Wrap floss ends around the index fingers, leaving enough floss length in between to clean.

4) Move the floss between teeth in a C-shape, cleaning all the surfaces.

5) Carefully retrieve the floss and switch to the next tooth.

6) Repeat the process unless you’re done cleaning your complete mouth.

Floss Threader 

One major advantage of floss threaders is their reusability and cost-effectiveness. When paired with waxed floss, they simplify flossing with braces spatially.

They are simple tools, just like a needle and a thread. They allow flossing beneath the archwire, making it easily through the teeth. 

How do you use floss threaders with braces?

1) Put a piece of floss through the floss threader. 

2) Maneuver the threader, which will maneuver the floss.

3) Follow standard flossing instructions to remove the debris.

4) Repeat it for all other teeth in the mouth.

Interdental Brushes 

Interdental or proxy brushes are useful aids designed especially for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Interdental Brushes 

These brushes reach between the tight spaces between the teeth and around the braces. Proxy brushes must not be used with toothpaste to increase the longevity of toothbrushes. You may use these brushes for months before replacing them, making it a cost-effective solution. 

How to use interdental brushes with braces? 

1) Place the toothbrush beneath the archwire and insert it between the teeth. 

2) gently brush the debris away and clean it.

3) Repeat the process for each tooth.

Water Flossers 

If you’re looking for an easy yet time-saving flossing method, you must choose water flossers. They adequately flush away foods and debris between the teeth and from hard-to-reach areas.

They don’t demand manual dexterity as they work on the principle of water flushing, where a continuous stream of water with pressure is spilled to flush the debris away. They cost a lot but can be a long-term investment in oral care. 

It is easy to handle, and water flushing can be controlled with a simple on-and-off switch. Getting accustomed to it might appear troublesome, but you’ll learn to adapt to it over time. 

How to use water flossers for braces? 

1) You must fill the water reservoir with water before using it. 

2) Attach the flossing tip to the flosser. 

3) Position the flossing tip inside your mouth. 

4) Turn on the water flosser while keeping your lips closed to prevent water splashing.

5) Make sure you clean all the areas in your mouth, ensuring comprehensive cleaning

Water flosser for Braces

Overcoming Common Challenges in Flossing with Braces

Flossing with braces presents unique challenges, including discomfort, pain, sensitivity, and the risk of floss shredding, which may hurt your lips and gums. However, these challenges can be overcome with the right mindset and techniques to achieve immaculate oral hygiene.

1) Dealing with discomfort and sensitivity: 

During initial orthodontic treatment, it is common to feel discomfort due to extended archwires and orthodontic brackets hurting cheeks and gums. Soft, waxed floss reduces friction and allows you to achieve clean oral health until your next appointment. You may use orthodontic wax to cushion orthodontic wires and brackets if they hurt.

2) Floss getting stuck or breaking:

Floss getting caught on wires and brackets is a common challenge. Alternatives like interdental brushes, floss threaders, and water flossers can help you solve this problem. If floss gets stuck, gently remove it by adjusting its position. Ensure you’re not forceful with your moves, or your bracket will dislodge. 

3) Tips for making it a routine:

Flossing takes time, so practicing it requires patience. Establishing a routine may seem difficult, but you must practice it consistently to train your mind that you can’t live without this habit.

Seeking Professional Guidance for Optimal Oral Hygiene with Braces

You’re different from your friend, and so are your oral hygiene maintenance needs. When undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces, you must get personalized advice from your orthodontist to promote preventive care.

1) The importance of regular dental checkups and cleaning:

Regular dental checkups and scaling and polishing are crucial to optimizing oral hygiene. The dentists will assess your teeth and gums to rule out any pathology that may arise due to improper hygiene. This will also allow you to get evaluated on your oral hygiene practices. You may ask your dentist to guide you through maintaining effective oral hygiene. 

2) Consult an orthodontist for personalized flossing recommendations:

Your orthodontist will examine your oral health and needs and recommend the correct flossing method.

He will assess the challenges you’re facing in practicing oral hygiene and guide you in a way that brings you mental relief and comfort. In the long run, you will adapt to this practice without taking it as a burden.

3) Addressing any concerns or challenges with flossing during orthodontic treatment:

Flossing with braces may present several challenges, including discomfort, sensitivity, and floss breakage. You must communicate such concerns with your dentist so that he may find the right solution for you. Professionals can offer tailored solutions to improve your overall experience.

Why is Flossing Beneficial for Individuals With Braces? 

Flossing is complementary to mouthwashes and brushing to maintain perfect oral hygiene.

While brushing is supposed to remove surface plaque and debris, flossing is more targeted and takes care of hard-to-reach areas where plaque tends to accumulate more. When coupled with mouthwash, you’ll be able to achieve a safe antimicrobial environment in your mouth. 

While undergoing orthodontic treatment, you must devise and practice a routine that improves your oral hygiene and prevents oral diseases. 

Follow this regimen:

Brush

1) Brush after every meal with a soft-bristled toothbrush. This will allow you to remove food debris packed between the archwires and the teeth to be removed then and there. 

2) Floss once a day with floss threaders, proxy brushes, or super floss. Do this at night before going to bed. 

3) Use 0.2% chlorhexidine mouthwash to achieve an antimicrobial effect.

Moreover, consistency is the key. Your routine is only useful once it’s a habit. To stay consistent, follow this: 

1) Set up reminders. This will remind you to floss daily, irrespective of your hard daily routine.

2) Keep your glossing aids in your bathroom to make it easily accessible.

3) Celebrate your commitment to oral hygiene by rewarding yourself with a little treat. 

4) Get yourself checked with your dentist regularly to have a motivational push if you fall back on your routine

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