If you have crooked or misaligned teeth that made you feel embarrassed about your smile or caused more serious dental problems, getting braces can be a relief – it's your first step on the path to a straighter smile. However, you want your teeth to be clean and healthy when you take the braces off, and taking good care of your teeth can become more difficult when you're wearing braces. Flossing can be particularly difficult when you have braces on your teeth, but it's a vital part of your dental health. Take a look at some tips that can help you meet the challenge of flossing while wearing braces.
Wax On or Wax Off?
One of the common problems reported by dental patients with braces is that the floss catches on the wires or brackets of the braces and frays or shreds. If you're experiencing this issue, it may be because you're using unwaxed dental floss.
Try choosing waxed floss instead. The coating of wax makes the surface of the floss smoother, which means that it's less likely to catch on the wires. This simple change can eliminate a particularly frustrating flossing hurdle.
Plain old floss is usually all you need to floss your teeth when you don't have braces. However, when you do wear braces, you might need some additional tools to help get the job done. One flossing tool that dentists frequently recommend is the orthodontic floss threader. This is a tool that helps you pull the floss through your teeth above the wire so that you can floss all the way up to the gum line.
Floss threaders are convenient, affordable, and disposable, and many people with braces find that they're sufficient to ensure proper flossing. However, there are a couple of other tools that can help if you want to invest in them. If you use an electric toothbrush, you may want to replace your usual brush head with an orthodontic brush head. This is not a replacement for flossing, but orthodontic brush heads contain bristles positioned in way that helps remove plaque around braces and can provide some extra assurance that you've gotten everything.
If you find using dental floss too inconvenient or painful, you may also want to consider investing in a water flosser. This device uses a stream of water from a specially designed tip to flush plaque and bacteria out from between your teeth. It can be an effective alternative to dental floss for patients with braces.
If you're using dental floss, you need to know the correct technique for flossing while wearing braces. You'll need to first thread the floss under the main wire of your braces, then through the two teeth. Move the floss gently up and down along the sides of the teeth, then remove the floss and repeat the process for the next two teeth. Be sure not to pull the floss too tightly, or you might snap it. You should floss daily for the maximum dental health benefit.
If you have trouble flossing, make sure that you discuss the problem with your dentist. A dentist, like one from Family 1st Dental, can review your flossing technique and help you find strategies that work for you, so that when your braces come off you'll have clean, healthy teeth underneath.