A Guide to Flossing With Braces

flossing with bracesIt is self evident that flossing is neither easy nor fun, so convincing a child to floss can be a challenge for most parents. This becomes even more difficult when a child wears braces.

The archwires come in the way of flossing the traditional way. Doing it on your own can be challenging for an adult, let alone a child.

However difficult it may be, proper orthodontic care is very important to maintaining a healthy mouth and smile. Since orthodontic appliances are difficult to clean, people wearing them are much more prone to plaque formation and gum disease. So, it takes commitment and 3 times more time and effort from parents to ensure a good oral hygiene for kids, while teeth are being realigned.

Nonetheless, there are tricks to make flossing a little easier for a child that wears braces.

Using a Water Flosser

While it’s best to do both dental flossing and water flossing, if you can at least get a good oral irrigator to help out with your flossing needs if you or your child has braces, it will help a lot on the way to a healthy mouth. Instead of dealing with the threading of the floss, you simply fill the reservoir with water and point the stream in between your teeth and braces.

For kids, we recommend looking at the Waterpik for Kids (click for our review) and for teenagers or adults, we recommend the full version of the Waterpik, the Ultra (click here for our review).

Using Dental Floss

Using dental floss on braces can be tricky, frustrating and time consuming. You need to pull the floss under the wire, much like threading a needle, and then slide the floss between adjacent teeth above the wire. This can be difficult, especially if one attempts to do it on their own while looking in a mirror.

However, there is a simple, cheap and disposable tool which you can use to make ‘threading’ a piece of cake. The orthodontic floss threader is a simple yet ingenious elastic loop, which is available in nearly any store selling oral care products (though you can get it for the best price on Amazon…click here to go to our recommended product).

You just take a long piece of dental floss, about 18 inches should suffice, and pull it through the loop of the threader. Then insert the pointy end of the threader under the wire and pull. The floss is now over the wire quickly and effortlessly, so it can be used to remove plaque under the gum line. When you are done, remove the floss carefully and repeat for each consecutive tooth. Another available product that is effective in pulling the string floss underneath the archwire easily is dental floss with a stiff end. This comes pre-cut and is as effective as the floss threader. Make sure to use waxed floss because non-waxed floss is more likely to be caught on the braces and leave shreds behind.

Young children that wear braces are not expected to floss on their own as they lack the dexterity required to do it properly. Parents need to do it for them in many cases. This can be quite difficult, especially if a child is unable to sit still. The parent must come up with a way to keep the child occupied, such as sitting where he/she can watch television.

This is very important since flossing with braces takes a considerable amount of time and needs to be done in a well-lit area. Besides ensuring a proper dental care, parents should continuously encourage their children to take good care of their teeth. Dental care is important for everyone and the sooner we learn this the better, but it is that much more important for individuals with braces. Flossing in this case might take much more time and effort but these people are more prone to plaque buildup and gingivitis.

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