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Flossing with braces can be difficult at first and requires patience.
However, cleaning the food debris and plaque from your teeth is important for oral health, especially with braces.
Only about 32 percent of adults aged 30 years and up, including 26 percent of men and 37 percent of women, floss every day—with or without braces.
Braces add a layer of complication, which may deter some people from flossing.3
Fortunately, there are tools to help thread the floss between your teeth and maneuver around the metal brackets and wires for a deep clean.
For example, you can use orthodontic appliances like a floss threader while wearing braces.
A floss threader looks like a plastic needle. You thread the floss and push the threader behind the wires to get between your teeth.
You can also use different types of floss to get rid of food particles and plaque buildup with braces. Here are a few options:
Traditional floss is an interdental product that effectively cleans between your teeth. It’s a very thin strand of twisted plastic monofilaments or nylon filaments.4
If you are going to use traditional floss with braces, you need a floss threader.4
To use traditional floss, follow these steps:
Using a floss threader can help lace the floss behind the braces wires, so you can reach between your teeth.
However, there are pros and cons to using traditional floss, especially with braces.4
Pros of traditional floss include:
Cons of traditional floss include:
Dental tape is very similar to traditional floss except that it is broader and flat.2
Use dental tape with braces the same way you would use traditional floss. Thread a floss threader to reach between your teeth.2
The pros and cons of dental tape are similar to those of traditional floss.
While dental tape is affordable and easy to use in most cases, braces can make using the tape challenging.2
Floss threaders are not used to directly floss your teeth. Rather, they thread traditional floss or dental tape to floss your teeth.
Again, to use a floss threader, break off a piece of floss about 18 inches in length.
Loop the strand through the threader. Then loop the threader behind the mental bar on your braces.
Floss threaders can be very helpful for flossing with traditional floss or dental tape when you have braces. However, floss threaders are not necessarily the easiest way to floss with braces.
Other types of floss don’t require any threading but still clean your teeth, even with braces.
Superfloss is ideal for cleaning along the gum line and between teeth with braces, bridges, and wide gaps.
It has three parts:6
Use Superfloss with braces like you would with other floss.
Thread the strand to reach behind your braces. Then floss with both the spongy floss and the regular floss.6
Superfloss is great for cleaning hard-to-reach places and preventing tooth decay while wearing braces. But the spongy floss may not fit between all teeth.
Water flossers are super helpful because they don’t require threading.
They use water to clean between your teeth. The Waterpik, for example, shoots a strong and fine shot of water to flush out food from between your teeth.1
Oral irrigators flush away food particles and debris from between your teeth. Simply aim the water flosser between your teeth for 30 to 60 seconds.1
A Waterpik is up to twice as effective in cleaning around implants. It’s up to three times as effective in removing plaque around braces than string floss.
Some research shows that Waterpiks are up to 50 percent more effective in improving gum health than traditional floss.1
On the other hand, some experts argue that water flossers can’t be considered replacements for traditional floss.1
Flossing helps clean between your teeth. Dental floss reaches the insides of your teeth that your toothbrush can’t get.5
In general, flossing is important because it helps remove plaque and food particles, maintain oral hygiene, and fight gum disease.
All of this helps to keep your teeth strong and prevent other orthodontic issues.5
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