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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 vital for oral health, especially with braces.
Only about 41% of people in the U.S. floss daily. Braces add a layer of complication because the wire connecting the braces (archwire) prevents flossing with the traditional method.
Brace wires may deter some people from flossing regularly. This can lead to plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Fortunately, there are various flossing tools and methods to help you clean between your teeth and maneuver around the metal brackets and wires, such as:
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Flossing with braces doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming.
Here are some products and techniques to help you floss effectively:
Traditional floss (string floss) is an interdental product that effectively cleans between your teeth. It’s available in both waxed and unwaxed forms. However, waxed floss is easier to use between your teeth.
If you choose to use string floss with braces, you’ll need a floss threader.4
To use traditional floss, follow these steps:
There are pros and cons to using traditional floss, especially with braces.4
Dental tape is very similar to traditional dental floss except that it’s broader and flat.2
Use dental tape with braces the same way you would use string floss. Thread a floss threader to reach between your teeth.2
Dental tape can be easier to use for people who have sensitive gums after getting braces. If your gums are swollen, traditional flossing can be painful and cause your gums to bleed.
While dental tape is affordable and easy to use in most cases, braces can make utilizing the tape challenging.2
Floss threaders aren’t used to floss your teeth directly. You use them to thread floss or dental tape behind your braces wire.
A floss threader looks like a plastic needle. You’ll thread the floss and push the threader behind the wires to get between your teeth.
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 metal bar on your braces.
Floss threaders can be beneficial when using traditional floss or dental tape with braces. However, floss threaders aren’t 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 excellent for cleaning hard-to-reach places. This helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease while wearing braces.
But the spongy floss may not fit between all teeth.
A water flosser can be super helpful because it doesn’t require threading. Also known as an oral irrigator, a water flosser uses water to clean between your teeth. It shoots a strong and fine stream 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
Research shows that a water flosser is up to 50 percent more effective in improving gum health than traditional floss.1
However, some experts argue that water flossers can’t be considered replacements for conventional flossing.1
Flossing is a crucial part of protecting your dental health. However, there are other steps you need to take to prevent oral health problems.
Here’s how to get the most out of your flossing routine while wearing braces:
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Flossing is essential for maintaining good oral hygiene. Dental floss helps clean between your teeth and in spaces that your toothbrush can’t get.5
Flossing is essential because it helps remove food debris and plaque from your teeth. This helps maintain oral hygiene and prevent gum disease. All of this helps to keep your teeth strong and prevent other orthodontic issues.5
Flossing before you brush is more effective at removing plaque. Additionally, this helps improve the absorption of fluoride from your toothpaste.
Studies funded by Waterpik show that a water flosser is more effective than regular floss in people with braces.1
Some people find that electric toothbrushes clean their teeth better than manual brushes. Electric brushes often include timers and pressure sensors that monitor your brushing. Talk to your dentist about which type of brush is best for you.
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Flossing with braces can be challenging, but it’s essential to remove plaque and keep your teeth clean.
Various tools and methods can make flossing with braces easier. It’s also important to brush your teeth and keep up with regular dental cleanings.
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Fresher breath, healthier gums, stronger teeth – find it all in 2024's best mouthwashes. Explore the top picks here.