Many orthodontic patients are foreign to flossing and they do not know how to floss with braces. And, many do not know the importance of flossing during their orthodontic treatment. While braces are in place, food particles get trapped between teeth, wires and braces easily. Tooth decay and gum disease may develop if these food particles are not properly cleaned away from the teeth and gums.
I Brush My Teeth, Therefore, I Don’t Need to Floss?
Almost half the surface area of your teeth are in contact with the adjacent teeth. These are areas where toothbrush can’t reach. Plaque contains acid-producing bacteria which can cause dental decay. Even if you do the best job in brushing your teeth, the plaque trapped between your teeth will stay on your teeth after brushing. Flossing will help remove food particles between teeth that can contribute to plaque build-up.
Are Floss Only For Cleaning Between Teeth?
Flossing is a great way for cleaning in between your teeth. Not only that, it is also great for cleaning the gumlines (the area where your teeth and gums meet). Food particles or plaque are often caught in the space between the teeth and gums, resulting in the development of gum diseases. Therefore, it is important to make sure the gumlines get cleaned properly while flossing.
My Gums Bleed and Hurt Whenever I Floss
There is a misconception that flossing can be painful and it can cause bleeding gums. In most cases, bleeding gums is a sign of gum disease. Healthy gums should not bleed while flossing. Another possible reason for gums to be painful and bleeding while flossing is incorrect flossing technique. If you are experiencing bleeding and painful gums while flossing, you may consult your orthodontist or dentist about gum diseases and how to floss with braces.
Should I Floss After Brushing?
It doesn’t really matter whether your floss before brushing or vice versa. Different orthodontist will have different techniques. It is wise to follow instructions given by your orthodontist.
What Type of Floss Should I Be Using?
There are several types of interdental cleaning tools available in the market. Floss is one of them, and they come in different forms and shapes. The three most common types of interdental brushing tools are Superfloss, conventional floss used with a threader, and interdental brushes.
Superfloss are thicker and stiffer on one end, hence making it easier to thread under the orthodontic wires.
Conventional floss are too soft to thread under the orthodontic wires. By attaching the floss through a floss threader (much like needle and thread in sewing), you may use the threader to guide the floss under the wire. Once the floss is under the wire, you may then floss as normal.
Interdental brushes are shaped like little Christmas trees. These are useful in cleaning between teeth with bigger gaps between them. They are also great for cleaning the space between your teeth and the orthodontic wires.
How To Floss With Braces?
- Rinse your mouth with water to flush out any big and loose food particles
- Use a interdental brush under the orthodontic wires
- Thread floss under the orthodontic wire
- Slowly slide floss between teeth in a zigzag motion
- Make a C shape with the floss as you wrap it around the tooth
- Gently move floss towards the gumline until the floss couldn’t travel any further
- Clean all food particles out and away from your gumline
- Repeat on the adjacent tooth
- As you move from one tooth to the next, use a fresh section of floss
- Repeat the flossing process until all teeth are cleaned
- Brush teeth with a soft-bristle tooth brush and fluoridated toothpaste
- Rinse your mouth with water
Flossing may seem tricky for those who are not used to it. However, practice makes perfect. Start flossing today. Be prepared to spend a longer time on your oral care while you have braces on your teeth. Don’t worry, it’s worth the time. If you don’t pay attention to your oral hygiene during your orthodontic treatment, your risk of having dental decay and gum disease is increased.
Learn more about the importance of flossing.