Many children and teens (and some adults) don't know how to floss with braces. Or they think that they can't floss at all if they have braces. But that's not the case. In fact, daily flossing is especially important during the time that you wear braces because you're more likely to have food particles trapped in the braces, bands and wires, which could increase your risk of a cavity if the food contains carbohydrates (sugars).
Be prepared to spend three times as long 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 oral hygiene while your teeth are being realigned, you increase your risk of gum disease. Plus, it can help your teeth look that much better when it's finally time to get your braces removed.
Although flossing with braces is tricky, you can get the hang of it with practice if you follow these steps:
- Floss type - Use waxed floss, dental tape or a product specifically designed to clean around your braces. Unwaxed floss is more likely to get caught and shred in your braces
- Floss length - About 45 cm of floss should suffice
- Thread movements - Take the floss and carefully thread it under the main wire of the braces before passing it between two teeth. Then remove the floss and re-thread it under the main wire to pass between the next pair of teeth
- How to use floss - Be sure not to snap the floss, simply move it up and down gently against the side of each tooth
Parents: Do the flossing for younger children who lack the coordination to thread the floss under the main wire of their braces.