Keep Your Braces Clean - FlossingThis is the second entry in our “Keeping Your Braces Clean” series and it focuses on flossing. Some people think flossing isn’t as important as brushing, but it is! Flossing removes plaque and food particles from between teeth and under the gum line. This area is very cavity-prone because your brush can’t reach. If this plaque is allowed to build-up under the gum line, it can irritate your gums and eventually lead to gum disease. Failing to floss leaves 35 percent of your tooth surface uncleaned! This process could lead to tooth decay or gum disease. Proper oral hygiene is vital to prevent these problems from occurring during your orthodontic treatment. The extra effort you give to keep your teeth, braces, and gums clean and healthy will result in a much better orthodontic outcome.

What is Floss? How Often Should I Use It?

Dental floss is a nylon thread that’s used to remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth. The best time to floss is before bedtime after you’ve brushed your teeth. You’ll be able to remove any plaque you might have missed while brushing. This process will take more time than flossing without braces. If your gums are not healthy, they may bleed the first few days.

You may need a floss threader to get the floss under your braces’ archwire. Dr. Black will provide these for you, and you can reuse them for several days.

How Do I Floss Most Effectively?

Use a piece of floss about 12 inches long. Use the floss threader to get the floss under the wire. Slide the floss up and down along the tooth surface. When the tooth is clean, the floss will “squeak” as you slide it up and down along the tooth surface. Be very careful to not pull with too much force on your archwire.

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1. Carefully pull waxed floss between wire and braces. 2. Floss carefully around the gum area.

Flossing is important and should be done every day. Yes, this can be a pain with braces, but Dr. Black will show you how to do it so you can keep it up at home. Remember that consistent brushing and flossing will result in a great orthodontic smile!

Using these daily flossing techniques will help keep your smile beautiful for many, many years. Flossing is only one part of the equation, however, as you must continue to brush and use proper oral rinses to keep your mouth health. If you’re wondering how to brush effectively with braces, or what kind of rinse we recommend, check out more in this series of “Keeping Your Braces Clean.”

Keeping Your Braces Clean: Brushing

If you follow these tips for proper daily cleaning, your smile will be fresh and your braces will shine. If you have any questions, or if any problems come up, please call us. We are always happy to help in any way we can.