For those who thought flossing can’t be done when you have braces, think again. There are many ways you can do that, all you need is the right way and a mouthful of patience.
It is the irony everyone with braces – you get them to improve your teeth, but end up working a lot harder to keep them clean. The problem is at its worse in the beginning. It is a real pain trying to clean your teeth, but giving up is just not an option. That would mean you got your braces for nothing. There are some basic things that you should know on flossing, to make your teeth safe from cavities. Bear in mind that it takes a lot of time but the payoff is big. Just hang in there and don’t skip flossing.
Choosing the Right Floss
The type of floss you choose should be soft and yet should not break due to the braces or get snagged into them. You can use a wax floss for this purpose; regular floss gets caught in the braces pretty much all the time. If you ask the pharmacist, he/she can show you some good waxed floss, dental tape and brushes specifically meant for teeth with braces, like special brushes for braces.
- There are two types of floss you can buy. The first on is a regular waxed floss, with which you buy a floss threader that you’ll get at any pharmacy. Make sure you get one with that can stay relatively stiff.
- The second type is the stiff-ended floss. It’s basically combining a threader and a floss into one product. In my opinion, they are quite flimsy and you should get them only if you don’t find a good threader.
- Another product you can buy for oral hygiene is the waterpik. You can use the waterpik if you really don’t have much time in the morning to floss, which can take quite some time due to your braces. But that doesn’t mean using the waterpik as a substitute for flossing. You need to floss almost every two days to keep your teeth clean. The waterpik can never replace flossing.
Getting to the Teeth
The whole point of getting the floss threader is to get the floss under the arch wire without it getting caught in the wire.
- If you’re using the stiff-ended floss, gently slide the end under the arch wire.
- If you’re using the threader, put the floss through the threader hole, take the stiff-end and slide it under the arch wire. After the floss is behind the wire, take out the threader and floss your teeth.
Once you got the floss between the teeth, you can floss like you always do. Make sure you bend the thread a little when you floss to get the curves on the insides of your teeth.
- If you have put on braces recently, your teeth will be moving and the gums should be a little loose. When you floss, floss gently inside the gums too. If they bleed, do not panic, it is normal if it happens once in a while. If your gums bleed a lot, consult the dentist you got your braces from.
- Cleaning your gums when you have braces on is very important. This is where most of the food that you eat gets stuck. In fact the food is what causes the bleeding of the gums due to tissue swelling and irritation and needs to be cleaned. I might also remind you the foods that you shouldn’t eat when you have braces on; they will just make your job harder.
- Do it slowly and softly. Don’t apply too much pressure on the teeth, you shouldn’t hurt your gums or snap the floss.
- Always get an extra amount of floss because you’ll need some to maneuver between the teeth and the braces.
So there you have it. Flossing regularly is as important as brushing regularly, especially if you have braces. Although skipping flossing won’t get you permanent tooth problems, but it will just increase your workload the next time you floss, not to mention get you bad breath.