How to Floss with Braces!

While wearing braces it is even more important to make sure you are brushing and flossing properly. It takes a big commitment to make sure teeth stay healthy.  It will take up to three times as long to clean your teeth but it is very important because there are more surfaces for plaque and bacteria to hide and grow.

Here are four tips for making brushing and flossing easier while wearing braces:

1. Use a soft-bristled brush or an electric toothbrush set to a lower level. Make sure to remove any elastics, bands, or removable parts of any orthodontic appliances. Softly brush around all the wires and pins for the ADA recommended time of two minutes twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. The best way to brush is to start from top to bottom working in a clockwise direction. 

Don’t forget to also brush your tongue, or the chewing surfaces of lower and upper teeth, using a firm back-and-forth motion. Finish by carefully brushing the back surfaces of the teeth the sameway you did the front surface of your teeth.

2. If you are having trouble cleaning areas in between the brackets, you may want to try using an interdental brush.  It’s shaped like a toothpick but with bristles on the end.  You can use them to remove plaque in between your teeth.

3. A water pick, also known as an oral irrigator, is an invaluable tool to help clean the hard to reach surfaces. They shoot a small stream of pressurized water in between your teeth. Water picks are not substitutes for flossing and brushing but they can be a very effective supplemental tool.

4. Flossing should be done once a day before you brush! To get floss under the archwire of your braces I recommend using a floss threader and make sure to always use waxed floss. Here is a video on how to properly use them!

By utilizing these techniques and tools, my hope is to have encouraged you to keep your mouth healthy for a lifetime of smiles.



Dr Brant Darby DDS

Dr. J. Brant Darby graduated with honors from The Master’s College with a degree in Biology. He completed his dental training at the University of Nebraska College of Dentistry, followed by a pediatric dental residency at University of Nebraska Medical Center. He actively served as a dental officer in the United States Army for eight years.

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