Tips to Flossing with Braces
Getting your child braces is like making an investment in their teeth. Practicing good oral hygiene, including proper flossing, is an important part of protecting that investment. According to the American Dental Association flossing is essential for removing plaque and preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
But getting kids to floss regularly can be harder than getting them to put down their cell phones. Add in the challenge of wire and metal on their teeth, and flossing can seem like an insurmountable task.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are some tips to flossing with braces that can make flossing a breeze and make sure your child’s teeth are healthy as well as straight when those braces come off.
Using Regular Floss
The least expensive and straightforward method of flossing with braces is using regular floss. They also give the best results but ranks lowest for ease of use.
To make the task a little easier, try using a floss threader. These are basically a large, plastic, disposable needle-like tool. Here’s how they work:
- Insert one end of the floss into the loop of the threader
- Slip the threader underneath the braces wire
- Remove the floss from the threader. The floss is now behind the wire.
- Carefully work the floss between one set of teeth
- Remove the floss and repeat with the next tooth
Always use waxed floss; unwaxed is harder to use and more likely to shred or get caught on your braces. Also, use at least 12 to 18 inches of floss. Don’t skimp, it just makes it harder!
Using a Water Flosser
Instead of using floss string, water flossers (also known as water picks or oral irrigators) send a thin jet stream of water between your teeth to remove particles. They also work well in cleaning around hard to reach areas, such as braces.
However, water flossers are not as effective as regular floss in removing plaque. With floss you are able to scrape the plaque from your teeth and remove most if not all of it. Jet streams of water just can’t do the job as well.
Because they can do a better job than brushing at getting at some of the tricky places under your braces, water flossers are worth using. Most orthodontists, however, don’t recommend them as a complete substitute for regular flossing.
Using Orthodontic Flossing Picks
For ease of use and effectiveness, an orthodontic floss pick may be the best option when flossing with braces. They are faster and easier to use than a floss threader, making it much more likely that your child will actually use them. They also get in-between the teeth and can scrape away plaque more effectively than a water flosser.
These floss picks, such as the Platypus Orthodontic Flosser are specially designed floss picks for fitting underneath the wires of braces for quick and easy access. Be sure and clean them under running water frequently as you move from tooth to tooth. And always use a new pick each time you floss.
An important part of your child’s orthodontic treatment is good dental hygiene. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.