Despite being one of the most under-practiced habits for good oral care, flossing is especially important for braces. Studies have shown that only 30% of Americans floss their teeth, and those numbers don’t include those who have braces. Braces, because of all the wires and brackets supporting the teeth, appear as a bulky obstacle for those aligning their teeth. But flossing remains one of the essential parts of good oral hygiene, and for those with braces, flossing matters so much more. Below, we’ll go into the essentials about why is flossing so important, what ways can a person floss with braces, what types of floss work best, and more.
Why Does Flossing Matter?
The American Dental Association quotes that cleaning between teeth removes plaque, which is a substance that can lead to cavities and gum disease. Flossing gets in between the areas where brushes don’t, and for those with highly sensitive teeth, that plaque can determine a person’s oral health. Plaque buildup is the number one cause for cavities, and that’s just for people without braces. Those with braces will have a significantly harder time cleaning their teeth due to the brackets and wires surrounding their teeth.
For people with braces, the plaque has more areas to develop, making it easier for plaque to accumulate. Because of this, people with braces often have to spend three times as long cleaning their teeth. We’re here to say that the time spent flossing is worth it. Your oral health matters because once diseases like cavities and gum disease develop, it’ll cost more for treatment and can cause long-term problems when avoided.
How to Floss With Your Braces
If you’ve been wearing braces for some time, you probably understand the need to remove the elastics, the bands, and other parts of your appliance. It takes extra time but careful attention to detail in these cases matters. Flossing, however, is a bit of a tricky task. This step-by-step guide will give you a better handle on this habit and make it worthwhile.
Step 1: The Type of Floss
We recommend using a wax-covered thread or an orthodontic floss threader. The wax helps protect your teeth from getting strands of floss in between the teeth and can be done manually to get into every nook and cranny of your teeth. Orthodontic floss threaders are specifically made for those with braces, and remove this manual motion by allowing the floss to slide in between the teeth and wires for excellent cleaning power.
Step 2: The Motions
Using a floss threader will act as a needle, taking the floss and weaving it through the threader. During this, you move the threader through your brace wire until the floss reaches in between your teeth. Once you’ve done this, the floss will sit in between your teeth, allowing you to move the floss as you normally would. Moving back and forth between the teeth won’t always cut it; sometimes, you may need to move the floss in adjacent angles to get every section inside clean.
Step 3: Remove and Repeat
Once you’ve cleaned your first tooth, you’ll be able to reuse the floss and threader and repeat those same motions. It may take some mouth stretching to get the floss and threader back there for the back molars. However, once you’re done cleaning, you can throw the floss and threader away, and huzzah! You have perfectly clean teeth for the day!
For more information on flossing with braces, and other tips on caring for your teeth, contact Dr. Wade Williams at Wade Williams Orthodontics, located in Woodlands, TX, to learn more.