Braces can disrupt your smile, irritate your lips and tongue, and make it difficult to eat. But for all the headaches involved with braces, the payoff is definitely worth the wait. Seeing your straight, beautiful smile will make it all worthwhile in the end. But if you let your dental hygiene slip while wearing braces, you can suffer from long-term dental issues like cavities and gingivitis even after your braces have been removed. Learning how to floss with braces is one way you can keep your teeth looking and feeling great.
How to Floss with Braces
The Importance of Dental Care
Daily brushing and flossing are always essential to the maintenance of a healthy mouth, but proper dental care is even more important while wearing braces. Braces can work magic and straighten your smile, but they are also great at trapping food particles. Even if you don’t see anything trapped in your braces, there’s a good chance small pieces of food have lodged themselves between your teeth. If you don’t brush your teeth twice daily and floss once daily, these particles start to accumulate and turn into plaque. This increases your chances of developing gum disease and cavities. If you learn how to floss with braces, you can prevent long-term issues as well as the discoloration of your teeth.
Benefits of Flossing
Everyone knows the importance of brushing your teeth, but many people neglect flossing. This simple task can have huge payoffs. Unlike your toothbrush, dental floss is able to get inside those tight crevasses between your teeth. And if you floss properly, you can dislodge food, bacteria, and even plaque that’s stuck to your teeth and under your gum line. When completed daily, flossing can help alleviate bad breath and prevent cavities and gingivitis.
Types of Floss
There are several types of dental floss available, including electric flossers, un-waxed floss, woven floss, and shred-resistant floss. According to Oral B, a recent study published in the Journal of Periodontology compared four different types of dental floss. The study found no difference in the plaque-removing ability of the flossing products. So while all of them are excellent tools to have in your oral hygiene arsenal, some are better suited to those wearing braces.
If you’re still figuring out how to floss with braces, start by using a wax-coated floss or a shred-resistant floss. Most people prefer these types of floss because they are easier to slide between your teeth and won’t shred or get caught on the wiring of your braces.
How to Floss with Braces
Unsurprisingly, you can’t use your typical flossing technique with braces. Flossing will also take a little bit longer; you should expect to spend two to three times longer flossing than you usually would. It might sound like a pain, but it’s worth it. To start, pull out about 18 inches of waxed floss. Carefully thread the floss under the main wire of your braces, then gently slide the floss between your teeth. If you’re having trouble threading the floss under the wires of your braces, pick up an orthodontic floss threader. You can find this inexpensive tool is almost any store that sells toothpaste and toothbrushes. It’s disposable and can help slide the dental floss into hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.
If you haven’t been flossing regularly, you might notice tenderness around your gum line and even some light bleeding. Don’t be alarmed. This is often a sign that you need to be flossing more often. If the pain or swelling continues, consult your dentist or orthodontist.
Learning how to floss with braces is a key part of keeping your teeth healthy and beautiful as they straighten. If you need help caring for your teeth and you’re looking for a new dentist, contact Wilkinson Dental today. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!