Brushing and cleaning your teeth should be included in your daily oral health routine.
But, did you know that flossing your teeth is a must, too?
For individuals with braces, flossing is essential as well in providing yourself with a better smile!
When you floss, you give way to the removal of food debris stuck in between your teeth, brackets, and wires that cannot be reached by a toothbrush.
Although it may take more time to floss when you have braces, try not to skip a day. There are many ways to floss with braces and we will discuss these in the next sections.
Benefits of Flossing Your Teeth Regularly
Brushing allows you to clean your mouth and teeth.
However, brushing may not reach all the areas in your mouth. Thus, using dental floss may be required. Aside from giving you a brighter smile, flossing provides many oral health benefits.
1) Prevents gum disease
When you floss your teeth, you prevent the occurrence of gingivitis.
This is a common gum disease that results from poor oral hygiene and it is characterized by inflammation and bleeding whenever you floss or brush your teeth.
If this gum disease is not treated, it can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis. This condition may even cause your teeth to fall off unknowingly.
Periodontitis can make your bone support wobbly.
Fortunately, flossing once a day can reduce the risk of gum disease. You can also get an appointment with your dentist to keep your gums healthier.
2) Gets rid of plaque and tooth decay
When you eat, food debris may get stuck between your teeth.
Also, when you have braces, these leftovers may be accumulated in your brackets and wires. Unfortunately, if not removed, these can turn into plaque.
If plaque is not removed, tooth decay would be possible.
Remember that tooth decay can result in a cavity that can damage your enamel. When more plaque is accumulated in your enamel, more dental problems can occur.
Eventually, this will cost you more money from getting dental treatments!
3) Provides a fresher breath
Also known as halitosis, bad breath is a common dental problem. It is caused by the food stuck in between your teeth.
Additionally, when food particles are not removed, plaque build-up and damage to the enamel may happen. In time, this can cause cavities and gum disease which are also factors for bad breath.
Ways & Techniques to Floss With Braces
There are different ways to floss with braces. So, if you have orthodontics and you find it hard to floss your teeth because of your wires, you might want to check the following techniques for flossing with braces.
1) Traditional flossing
This technique works by removing flood and plaque from between teeth. However, individuals with orthodontics may find it a little tricky as it may take some time to do it.
Take note that you should only use waxed floss if you wish to do this technique. The unwaxed floss can tear and may get stuck in metal brackets.
To do this traditional flossing technique, follow the following steps:
Cut around 20 inches of dental floss
Thread the floss between the main wire and your teeth
Get a good grip on the floss so that you will not provide too much force when you start flossing
Gently press the floss between two teeth and slide the floss upside-down
When you remove the floss, unthread it carefully to avoid damaging your brackets and wires
Then, move to the next tooth and repeat the process
Make sure to use a clean section of the floss as you move on to the next tooth
Traditional flossing is the common technique to floss teeth but it is not the easiest one for individuals with orthodontics.
2) Waterpik or water flosser
Also known as an oral irrigator, this method uses a steady stream of water to clean your teeth and gums. It requires a water flosser which you need to buy from the market.
Although kind of expensive compared to the traditional ones, this method only requires you to use around 3 minutes of your time.
To floss with Waterpik, you can follow the steps below:
Fill the Waterpik’s machine water reservoir with water
You can add mouthwash if you want too
Then, insert the tapered tip on the water flosser and press the end water to the flosser
The pressure can be adjusted so find the one that is strong enough for you
Place the tip of the flosser in your mouth and turn the flosser on
You should close your mouth when doing this method to avoid water from splashing
It is advised to lean over the sink when you allow the water to drain out of your mouth
Glide the stream along the gum line and between each tooth
It is also advised to brush a tooth every after you spray. Repeat this process until you finish the last tooth. Make sure to spray both your front and back teeth.
3) Floss threader
If you wish to follow traditional flossing, you can consider a floss threader to speed up the flossing method. This dental aid can help you pull floss behind your wires easily. Generally, a floss threader looks like a small plastic needle.
To use this dental aid, you can follow the steps below:
Pull around 20 inches of waxed floss through the eye of the floss threader
Insert the point of the floss threader under your wires and gently pull the floss
Press the floss between two teeth and slide the floss upside-down
After following the steps stated in the traditional flossing, rethread the floss threader and repeat the process
You can buy a floss threader over-the-counter or you can also ask your dentist. Some dentists offer sample threaders which you can try before buying a full bag.
4) Dental tape
For some individuals with braces or with sensitive gums, flossing can be painful. Fortunately, considering flossing with dental tape will help you floss more easily.
Generally, dental tape is made of waxed nylon.
It is flat, broad, and stretchy. You can follow the traditional flossing steps when using dental tape.
Other Useful Tips
Aside from flossing, you can also consider adjunct methods to improve your oral health. Some of these will be discussed in this section.
1) Regular visits to the dentist
According to the American Dental Association, it is advised to visit your dentist twice a year or more.
For those with braces, monthly adjustments are needed. Also, during these adjustments, you can get prophylaxis or cleaning where your dentist can provide deep cleaning around your mouth. A regular visit to the dentist can also prevent the staining of teeth.
2) Avoid whitening toothpaste
If you have braces, understand that whitening toothpaste cannot be absorbed under your brackets. Although whitening toothpaste is a good idea, you should avoid it while you have your braces on.
3) Considering an electric toothbrush
If you have an extra penny, you might want to get an electric toothbrush. They can clean better than manual brushes and using them requires less time and effort.
Still, it is highly advised to seek your dentist’s recommendation before using an electric toothbrush.
Indeed, flossing can improve not just your oral health but your confidence as well. For those with braces, flossing might be a little hard and may take some time.
Fortunately, there are many ways to floss.
Among these, the use of a water irrigator is highly recommended as it provides the easiest and fastest way to floss your teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the best type of floss for patients with braces?
Waxed floss is the best one for those with braces. This type does not tear easily compared to the others.
How many times should I floss if I have braces?
It is advised to floss at least once a day. However, you can also floss after a meal to ensure that no food particles are stuck between your teeth.
Should I floss first or brush first?
It is better to floss first before you brush your teeth to ensure that all food debris will be removed from your mouth.
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