To prevent plaque and tartar from wreaking havoc on the health of your teeth and gums, you practice oral hygiene. A good and thorough oral hygiene regimen should include visiting your dentist for regular teeth cleanings, brushing your teeth twice a day, and flossing daily.
When you have metal wires and brackets on your teeth from orthodontic braces, it can be difficult to maneuver floss effectively to clean your smile. That does not mean that you should skip this part of your oral hygiene routine. Read on for expert advice for flossing while undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces.
Do Not Skip Flossing
When you brush your teeth, you clear plaque and lingering food particles from the surface of your teeth, leaving your smile clean and healthy. However, the bristles of your toothbrush cannot access the small space between your teeth. This is why we floss.
Even if you have trouble moving your floss between your teeth due to your braces or another orthodontic appliance, plaque can still infiltrate the area. You will still need to floss in order to protect your teeth from cavities and other dental dangers. Fortunately, your dentist has advice prepared to help you keep your smile clean as you straighten your teeth with braces.
Ideal Flossing Methods If You Have Braces
After brushing your teeth, take an 18-inch string of floss and thread it between the wire of your braces and your teeth. Then, wrap the ends of the floss around your middle finger. This firm position with a tight grip will allow you to move and maneuver your floss with ease.
Carefully insert the floss between your teeth. Curl the floss around the side of one tooth and gently rub it up and down. Do the same for the side of the adjacent tooth.
Then you can remove the floss and slide it out from under the wire. You will repeat this positioning and movement for each tooth. Gentle motions are key for this process to avoid irritating your gums or breaking your orthodontic appliances.
Consider Alternative Flossing Tools
Some orthodontic patients may find this method tedious. If they do not feel inspired to floss, they will be less likely to comply. Young patients especially might skip this step of their oral hygiene regimen and put their oral health at risk.
Patients with braces may find it easier to navigate flossing their teeth if they use floss picks. This product features a string of floss attached to a plastic handle. The floss can clean between teeth without navigating under the metal wire of braces.
A water flosser is another alternative flossing tool that can improve compliance and therefore the dental health of individuals with braces. This device uses a stream of irrigated water that clears plaque and other residues from between teeth. It is easy to aim the water flosser between teeth and move around your appliance. For more oral hygiene advice, ask your orthodontist at your next appointment.