How to Floss While You Have Braces
Getting braces means making a few changes to your regular habits. You may have to eat a little differently and learn some new techniques for keeping your teeth clean. Brushing and flossing is very important while you have braces, because braces tend to trap food and increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
The good news is that braces are not permanent. You may only wear them for a couple of years or less. But during your active treatment period, you may need a few extra tools to brush and floss effectively. Here’s a guide to dental hygiene with braces to help you keep your teeth and mouth healthy during your orthodontic treatment.
Brushing Tips and Tools
You may be able to effectively brush your teeth with a regular toothbrush, but it can help to have some different shaped brushes. Your orthodontist will provide you with these tools when you first get your braces put on to help you get started.
- When brushing, it helps to angle your brush so that the bristles reach the area between your brackets and your gums. This is the area that is most likely to develop plaque from food that gets stuck to your braces.
- Use a smaller brush with a round head to clean food out from under the archwire and around your brackets.
Flossing Tips and Tools
Flossing can be a little more difficult when you have braces because the archwire prevents the floss from reaching the gums. Here are some tips and tools to help make flossing with braces easier.
- Floss threader. A special tool can make it easier to get the floss under your archwire. It looks like a sewing needle, but it is made out of plastic and is larger. You thread the floss through the eye of the plastic needle and use the pointed end to get the floss under your archwire. Then you gently wedge the floss between your teeth, making sure to curve the floss around each tooth to reach the pocket between the tooth and gums.
- Orthodontic flossers. You have probably seen or used the plastic flossers with a string of floss stretched across a u-shaped piece of plastic. Orthodontic flossers are made with a narrow head that makes it easier to get the floss under your archwire.
- Superfloss. Superfloss is made with a reinforced plastic end, similar to a shoestring. This end works in place of a floss threader to make it easier to thread the floss under your archwire.
How Important is Flossing When You Have Braces?
It is common to skip flossing with braces because it is a little inconvenient. However, while you have braces you are at a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease due to the excess food that becomes trapped by your braces.
Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. It is caused by plaque, a sticky film made of food residue and bacteria, that clings to the teeth. When plaque is not removed by brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings, it hardens into calculus and is more likely to infect the gums. Flossing is one of the best ways to prevent gum disease, along with brushing.
Braces Care Tips From Embrace Orthodontics
Whether you need braces, you’ve just had braces put on, or you’re already into your treatment, braces care is important. The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to improve your dental health, but if you don’t take proper care of your teeth while you’re in braces, the opposite can occur. Learn more about dental hygiene during braces treatment from Embrace Orthodontics.
Call 518-439-9339 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.