How to floss with braces

Food can easily get stuck between your child’s braces. In order to maintain healthy teeth and gums, it is essential that they learn to properly care for their teeth, gums and braces throughout their treatment. Although it might initially seem difficult, learning to floss with braces does get easier with practice.

Below we’ll give you step-by-step instructions for this crucial part of their oral care routine.

How to floss with braces

Before they begin flossing, they will need to brush their teeth thoroughly. Food and plaque can get caught between the brackets, wires and between the teeth, so their brushing technique should cover all surfaces of each tooth (outer surfaces, inner surfaces, top and bottom surfaces). They should also use a mixture of motions, including side-to-side and circular motions, to remove all food and plaque, spending time focussing on both the teeth and their braces.

Now they can move on to flossing:

Step 1:

Get a long piece of dental floss (roughly 18cm), so that the ends can be wrapped around your index fingers while flossing.

Step 2:

Thread one end of the floss between the wire and your teeth. The floss should be aligned with the gap between your teeth. This gap is filled by moveable gum tissue. Products such as floss threaders or superfloss can be used to help with this step.

Step 3:

Wrap the ends of the floss around your index fingers to gain more control of the floss. The more control you have over the motion, the less likely it is that you’ll hurt your gums.

Step 4:

Use firm but gentle pressure to wriggle the floss between your teeth and remove all food particles and plaque build-up.

Tip: Rather than holding the floss straight, have it form a ‘C’ shape to hug around each tooth. That is, run the floss along the vertical side of each tooth.

Step 5:

Continue this gentle technique, working your way around the mouth.

What else can I use except for floss?

If you have a hard time flossing with string or tape, there are other methods to help keep the teeth and gums clean, such as interdental toothbrushes. These small brushes have been designed to get into small spaces including around brackets and the gaps between teeth and can be particularly helpful when undergoing braces treatment.

Still unsure about the correct flossing technique?

Ask your orthodontist or dental therapist/hygienist to demonstrate the proper technique at your next appointment. They may also direct you to the best products or techniques to properly care for your child’s smile.

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