Starling orthodontics dentist

How to Floss with Braces

Your child just got braces and you want the best experience for them! And, as a parent, you know that you can play an integral role in helping your child with their dental hygiene while wearing braces. 

Dental professionals have spent decades educating patients on the importance of brushing and flossing regularly to maintain healthy gums, reduce plaque buildup, and prevent gum disease, and it’s equally important to floss regularly when wearing braces. Orthodontic health is more important than ever for children and teenagers to have a beautiful smile for years to come once their wires and brackets are removed. 

Our top tips for brushing and flossing with braces will help your child maintain a beautiful smile during and after braces!

Brushing with Braces

Dentists recommend maintaining healthy teeth by brushing and flossing twice daily. Those with braces may need to step their game up a bit in this department though. That’s because, after a meal, small food particles may be left behind in the nooks and crannies of braces which can lead to a buildup of plaque. When left behind, this plaque can lead to gum disease, inflammation, and irreversible tooth decay.

Flossing with Braces

In the world of orthodontic health, flossing teeth is just as important, if not more important, than brushing alone. Proper flossing helps to rid the mouth of small food particles and bacteria that have formed in the small crevices of teeth that a toothbrush simply cannot reach. 

No matter how well or how long you brush, a toothbrush alone cannot get your teeth as clean as brushing and flossing around metal braces. That’s why flossing, especially after every meal, is so important for oral health when you have braces.

How to Brush and Floss with Braces

While most can maintain a beautiful smile by brushing twice daily, our orthodontists recommend brushing and flossing with braces after each meal, and brushing for at least two minutes each time. 

Brushing your teeth with braces requires attention to detail. Begin by placing non-whitening fluoride toothpaste on the head of your soft toothbrush and brush your teeth in smaller, circular motions. Be sure to thoroughly brush all surface areas of each tooth, including the front and back of the teeth, brushing for at least 2 minutes. It’s OK to use a powered toothbrush.

Unlike brushing without braces, metal brackets require you to angle the toothbrush approximately 45 degrees between the metal wire and your gum line to ensure adequate cleaning and removal of plaque and food particles. Be sure to use short, gentle, back-and-forth motions along the chewing, inside, and outside teeth surfaces, paying particular attention to the areas around the brackets.

Next, unspool a generous amount of unwaxed dental floss, around 7 to 8 inches, and wrap a small portion of the floss around your index finger to maintain a tight grip. Carefully line the floss in the small gap between the metal wire and your gum line and begin sliding the floss along the vertical sides of each tooth. 

Remember to curl each piece of floss onto your finger as you use it to prevent placing bacteria back into the mouth once it has been removed. Repeat this process until you’ve flossed all of your teeth.

Tips and Tricks to Make Flossing With Braces a Breeze

Traditional flossing methods are not as easily done while wearing metal braces. Fortunately, there are tools available to help those undergoing orthodontic treatment maintain healthy teeth.

  • Water flosser. This is an easy-to-use device designed to remove plaque and bacteria from the mouth by using a pressurized stream of water. Depending on the brand, you can get special attachments made specifically for those with braces.
  • Floss threader. Floss threaders are a great tool to make traditional flossing easier with braces. This small plastic device helps users thread the floss between the metal wire more easily and many orthodontic practices offer samples of the tool so you can try it before you purchase.

Let Starling Orthodontics Enhance You or Your Child’s Smile!

At Starling Orthodontics, we have been helping our patients love their smiles with the latest advancements in technology, including various types of braces for adults, and orthodontics for children. We not only provide exceptional care, but we also work to provide education as well as tried and true tips for maintaining a healthy mouth with regular brushing and flossing while wearing braces.

For more information on brushing and flossing after orthodontics, consult Starling Orthodontics.

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