Getting braces comes with a lot of new responsibilities. Everything you thought about dental hygiene now has to be altered to accommodate for the new metal in your mouth. The differences aren’t too scary, don’t worry.
From a young age, the importance of flossing was always present. That doesn’t change as you get older or when you get braces. It’s just a little different than what you’re used to.
If you’ve got braces or you’re thinking of getting them you might be wondering how to floss with braces, well this informative guide will let you know all about it.
Let’s get started.
What are Braces?
To know how to best clean your braces, you should know exactly what’s in your mouth. You already know that braces are meant to straighten teeth and align your jaw so you have an even bite and a nice smile.
There are several different types of braces to consider.
The most well-known type of braces is the metal kind. These have brackets that are attached to the front of your teeth and bands that go around each tooth, as well as flexible wires that hold the brackets or bands together. Sometimes small rubber bands help link the brackets to the wire.
The way this works is by applying pressure to your teeth, helping them get straighter.
If you’re not crazy about the look of metal braces and want something a little more hidden, there are ceramic braces. There are the same as traditional braces except they’re made in tooth-colored ceramic, so they’re not as noticeable. This is a good in-between option between traditional braces and invisible aligners.
These are also called invisible braces. They’re clear plastic trays that hug your teeth. In the same way that traditional braces tighten and shift your teeth using pressure, clear aligners do the same. Unlike traditional braces though, you’ll have to remove your aligners whenever you want to do things like eat, brush, or floss.
Keeping Your Braces Clean
It is so important to practice proper dental hygiene, with or without braces. With braces, however, you need to be extra aware of cleanliness. The design of the braces makes it easier for food particles, bacteria and plaque to get trapped.
If you aren’t properly flossing and cleaning, all of these things can demineralize the enamel of your teeth and cause cavities. Let’s look at the best ways to clean and floss your teeth when you wear braces.
Brushing Your Teeth
When wearing braces and brushing your teeth, make sure to spend extra time on each tooth. Scrub as thoroughly as possible, ensuring no food could be trapped in the little crevices of the brackets or wires. Use a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and scrub for 3-5 minutes.
Then be sure to follow up with mouthwash to give it an extra layer of cleanness. Be sure to brush after every meal as well. While it might seem like overkill, it is easy for food to get trapped in your braces. It’s better to avoid the trouble that comes from buildup than to have to worry about it once you visit the orthodontist.
Even with clear aligners, brush your teeth extra hard, and be sure to properly clean the aligners. With the plastic trays, you’ll want to soak it in a cleaning solution daily then scrub it with a toothbrush to get rid of any tough food particles.
How to Floss With Braces
Now for one of the most important things you can do for the well-being of your teeth: floss. When you have braces, traditional flossing is not as simple as you’d like it to be. However, there are also alternatives to choose from, gone are the days of only one less comfortable option.
Let’s get into all the flossing tips.
When it comes to traditional braces, flossing the old-fashioned way might be a bit tricky. It’s not impossible, however. If you’re committed to this method, be sure to buy waxed floss and give yourself 15-20m to do a thorough job.
You’ll want to cut a piece of floss that’s about 18-24 inches long. Then you’ll thread the floss between the main wire and your teeth. You’ll want to use your index fingers to get a good hold on the floss.
Then it’s just about pressing the floss between the two teeth, sliding it up and down and all around the sides. To remove the floss, just gently unthread it from behind the wire. Then continue to the next pair of teeth and do it all again.
If the traditional method feels a little too elaborate for you, you can speed things up with a floss threader. These are small plastic tools that help you pull floss behind your braces easily. The steps are pretty similar to that of traditional flossing but with a couple of differences.
Instead of putting the floss directly between your teeth, you’ll put it through the floss threader and then insert the plastic needle part under the wire of your braces. Then you can pull the floss from the other side and get in those tricky corners.
You may have heard of an oral irrigator, such as a Waterpik, which is a relatively new and convenient tool to help clean your teeth and gumline. They’re also called water flossers.
The way this works is by shooting out a steady stream of water that you use for 3-5 minutes to ‘floss’ throughout all the areas you’d use traditional flossing for. You fill the water reservoir with water, insert a tapered tip, and press the button to get flossing.
There’s an initial investment in oral irrigators but they’re worth it. It’s hard to beat their easy to use, durability, and effectiveness.
Dental Hygiene and Braces
No matter what stage your teeth are in, braces, or no braces, you’ll need to be flossing. It’s important for the health of your teeth and to keep you from spending a ridiculous amount of money to fix any problems that flossing could have prevented.
Regardless of whether you already have braces or you’re about to get them, you’ll be grateful to know how to floss with braces. That bright, shiny smile will be worth it!
If you’re ready to take the next step to improve your smile, be sure to contact us and request an appointment!