How to Floss with Braces

Flossing is important to your oral hygiene, but it’s a lot more difficult to do when you’ve got braces. Learn the best way to floss with braces, so you can keep your teeth healthy.

Traditional Flossing

While traditional flossing is tricky if you have braces, it can be done. Start with a piece of floss at least 18 inches long, threaded through the main wire of your braces and positioned between two teeth.

Gripping the floss with your fingers (you may want to wind it around, so you’re dealing with a shorter piece of floss), press the floss against your teeth and move it back and forth. Work around the gum line of the tooth so you cover both sides and the top or bottom, depending on which area of the mouth you are cleaning.

When you’re finished with one tooth, unthread the floss from the braces. Take care not to press on the wire with the floss as you could knock it out of alignment.

Then repeat the process with the next tooth and so on until your mouth is clean.

Floss Threader

Floss threaders speed up the traditional flossing process by helping you get the floss around the dental wire quickly. Ask your orthodontist if they have a simple floss threader you can try if you aren’t ready to get a water flosser and find flossing the old-fashioned way time-consuming. Floss threaders are sold everywhere dental floss is sold, so it’s easy to pick up a bag of disposable threaders.

Water Flosser

Water flossers, such as the Waterpik brand, are much more efficient than traditional flossing methods for anyone wearing braces. You can clean your entire mouth in three minutes.

Fill the reservoir on your water flosser and fit the unit with a tip. Leaning over the sink so water will drain, place the water flosser in your mouth and turn the unit on. Gentle pressure will dislodge debris from between the teeth without harming your braces. Allow the flosser to target each tooth one by one working along your top and bottom teeth.

When there is something stuck in the teeth, lightly brush the teeth with the flosser tip to dislodge the bacteria. Then spray along the gum line again. Drain the water from the unit when you are finished.

If the water flosser is not working as efficiently as expected, you may need to try a different tip or adjust the water pressure so the unit is more forceful. Natural mineral deposits in water can affect the efficacy of the water flosser’s tips. You may need to replace tips as often as every three months as a result.

These methods also work well if you have a permanent retainer.

Our Tampa dentist is here to help you take the very best care of your teeth, so if you need a refresher on flossing don’t be afraid to ask during your next teeth cleaning.

Need to schedule an appointment? Contact us today.