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Whether you have braces or not, flossing is a very important part of oral hygiene. However, maintaining excellent oral hygiene while wearing braces is even more critical so that you don’t acquire white spots, cavities, and gum disease while in treatment. If proper oral hygiene is not adhered to, this can cause your treatment to be delayed and in severe cases, your braces may need to come off sooner than expected.

What’s the best way to floss with braces?

Initially, flossing with braces can be a little tricky and time consuming but the more you do it, the faster you will get. There are several tools to help you floss your braces. You can use regular floss, floss threader, super floss, an orthodontic flosser, and/or a Waterpik.

How do I floss with plain waxed dental floss?

  1. Break off 18-24 inches of waxed floss
  1. Thread the floss between the wire and your teeth with one hand and grab the end of the floss with your other hand as it comes through (wrapping the floss around your index fingers can help to make this a little easier so the floss does not slip through your fingers).
  1. Gently move the floss between 2 of your teeth and go up and down the side of one tooth with the floss. Try to get slightly under the gumline and then do the same thing on the other tooth.
  1. Remove the floss and move on to the next tooth using the unused section of floss and repeat this process until you have completed your entire mouth.

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How do I floss with a Floss Threader?

Using a floss threader will make the process above easier and faster. Floss threaders are inexpensive, and you can reuse them several times.

  1. Use a piece of waxed dental floss that’s 18-24 inches long and pull it through the eye of the floss threader.
  1. Guide the pointed end of the floss threader under the wire and gently pull the floss through until you can grab it with both hands and wrap the floss around your index fingers.
  1. Gently move the floss between 2 of your teeth and go up and down the side of one tooth with the floss. Try to get slightly under the gumline and then do the same thing on the other tooth.
  1. Remove the floss and move on to the next tooth using the unused section of floss and repeat this process until you have completed your entire mouth.
  1. Wash the floss threader under warm water so you can reuse it.

How do I floss with a Super Floss?

Super Floss is a little more expensive and can’t be reused but it’s a very convenient way to floss because it’s premeasured and it has the treader attached to it. It’s one very long piece of floss with regular floss and spongey floss that helps to clean areas where there is no buildup.

  1. Guide the pointed stiff end of the Super Floss under the wire and gently pull the floss through until you can grab it with both hands and wrap the floss around your index fingers.
  1. Gently move the floss between 2 of your teeth and go up and down the side of one tooth with the floss. Try to get slightly under the gumline and then do the same thing on the other tooth. Use the spongy end for areas where there is a gap or any area that packs food or debris.
  1. Remove the floss and move on to the next tooth using the unused section of floss and repeat this process until you have completed your entire mouth.

How do I floss with an Orthodontic Flosser?

An orthodontic flosser is more expensive than the other floss options listed above, and they shouldn’t be reused but they can make flossing much easier and faster. They are little plastic handheld tools with floss attached to them and you only need one hand to use them. On the opposite end of the tool is a little pick that’s designed to removed food particles and plaque or debris around the brackets.

  1. Simply push the rounded end of the flosser under the wire between 2 of your teeth and go up and down the side of one tooth with the flosser. Try to get slightly under the gumline and then do the same thing on the other tooth. If the flosser is dirty, rinse it off before moving on to the next area.
  1. Use the opposite end of the flosser to remove food particle and/or debris around the brackets.

How do I floss with a Waterpik?

The Waterpik is the most expensive way to floss but research has shown, it can be the most effective way to remove plaque and improve gum health. For best results, use a Waterpik Water Flosser with the orthodontic tip. The orthodontic tip has a tapered brush that helps remove plaque from braces.

  1. Fill the Water Flosser reservoir with lukewarm water and place it firmly on the base.
  1. Insert the flosser tip and click into the handle
  1. Adjust the pressure control, start at a low pressure, lean over the sink or use in the shower and place the tip in your mouth.
  1. Turn the unit on, close your lips to prevent splashing and let the water flow from the mouth into the sink.
  1. Starting with the back teeth, aim the tip at the gumline. Pause and lightly brush the area between the teeth and all around the bracket
  1. Complete this process until you’ve finished your entire mouth (the whole process takes about 1 minute).

In addition to the floss options listed above, we suggest using an electronic toothbrush and seeing your general dentist at least every 6 months for a checkup and cleaning. Our goal at Loudoun Orthodontics is to make sure you have a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime!

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