Can mouthwash replace flossing during orthodontic treatment?

We get it, flossing is hard at the best of times. Factor in the fiddly brackets and wires that fill your mouth when you have braces and suddenly the simple task turns into a downright chore. We’re often asked if it is really necessary to floss with braces. And then, usually a bit more quietly, we’re asked if they can just use mouthwash instead. Here’s why you shouldn’t be skipping this important step in your oral hygiene routine.

The role of flossing

Flossing is important because it helps to remove the particles of food and plaque that become wedged between your teeth that brushing alone can’t reach. Tooth decay and other hygiene issues begin developing when there is a build-up of plaque, which can also lead to gum disease.

Then you’ve got braces, it’s even more important to floss regularly, as the brackets and wires can capture more food particles and plaque. If you’re unsure how to properly floss or feel as though you’re not doing it correctly, you can follow these steps or ask your orthodontist to show you the correct technique at your next appointment. Ask about floss-threaders and Superfloss®, as they can be a great help!

The role of mouthwash

It’s easy to see why you’d think that mouthwash can replace your floss – after all it supposedly kills a lot of bacteria in the mouth – but brushing and flossing are still by far the most important parts of oral hygiene. Mouthwash is only an add-on to brushing and flossing. It is generally not required for most healthy mouths. Your orthodontist and family dentist can advise you further on the use of mouthwash.

What if I am having a different type of treatment?

So you’re getting clear aligners like Invisalign®, ClearCorrect® or instead of traditional braces – does that mean you’ve found the loophole that will let you skip flossing? Definitely not. While the clear plastic aligner trays are removed while you eat, your teeth and gums can still become a breeding ground for bacteria if they are not cared for properly.

So not only should you definitely continue excellent oral hygiene while undergoing your clear aligner treatment, you will need to ensure you still brush your teeth after every meal. A daily routine of thorough brushing and flossing along with cleaning your aligner trays is essential.

If you’re considering orthodontic treatment and the idea of additional dental upkeep is off-putting, it’s important to remember that this advice is the key to lifelong dental health. In addition, it will ensure that your smile is as brilliant as it can be both during and after your orthodontic treatment!

Find an Orthodontist using our tool to search your local area for a registered specialist who can help you perfect your oral hygiene routine

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