Flossing is an essential component of any dental hygiene routine, but for those with braces, flossing is absolutely necessary to prevent bacterial growth and infections that lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. While flossing with braces can be slightly more challenging than flossing without, it’s still possible to incorporate a dental hygiene plan that prevents plaque and tartar buildup into your busy morning routine.
Guide to Flossing with Braces
How often should I floss with braces?
Those with braces should floss at least twice per day in order to prevent plaque and tartar buildup as well as to remove food particles that can become trapped in metal braces or between clear aligners and teeth. It’s also important to floss after eating, or after each snack or meal, to ensure that no leftover particles or residue are remaining. These food particles can cause damage to brackets, bands, and metal braces, and they can wreak havoc if left to attract bacteria between aligners and teeth.
What happens if you don’t floss with braces?
Neglecting to floss when you wear braces can damage your braces, and your investment. In addition to becoming a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause tooth decay and tooth loss, leftover food particles that become trapped between braces and teeth can damage the bands and brackets that keep your braces intact. Neglecting to follow a dental hygiene routine can warrant more visits to the dentists for repairs, cleanings, and cavity fillings.
If you wear clear aligners and neglect to brush and floss at least twice daily and after meals, food particles and bacteria can collect in the space between your teeth and aligners. This can lead to several problems down the road:
- Food particles stuck between teeth and aligners can prevent proper movement of the teeth.
- Leftover food particles can attract bacteria which cause gum disease and cavities.
- Bacteria can lead to serious health problems, as well as halitosis, or chronic bad breath.
What foods should I avoid with braces?
Avoiding certain foods makes brushing and flossing easier when you have braces. This includes foods that are:
- Hard or Crunchy
While sticky foods can damage bands and brackets, hard and crunchy foods like apples and corn can also damage teeth and metal braces. Steer clear of foods that can also leave behind hard-to-clean residue and particles such as:
- Corn-on-the-Cob (Corn Silks)
- Starchy or Sugary Foods
What floss should I use with braces?
Any floss that can be used to remove food particles and prevent plaque and tartar buildup is better than not using any floss at all, but flossing can be a bit more complicated for those with braces than those without. If you’re having trouble maintaining a consistent brushing and flossing a routine with braces, consider using one of these tools that can make the process easier.
Waxed Floss with an Orthodontic Floss Threader
If flossing with string floss is awkward and complicated with braces, consider using an orthodontic floss threader that can make the process of removing plaque and tartar more effective and easy. Orthodontic floss threaders can be found in the oral health section of most drugstores and grocery stores for less than $5.
Waterpiks are great for those who find traditional flossing to be complicated, or just downright annoying. For those with sensitive gums, it can be difficult to use enough pressure to remove plaque without causing redness or bleeding of the gums, while for others, it may be impossible to remove the buildup of tartar and plaque using floss alone.
The Waterpik offers a great solution to flossing with an effective alternative to string floss. Using mild pressure and a device that looks similar to an electric toothbrush, the Waterpik system allows users to gently remove plaque and tartar without the awkward motions of traditional flossing. By simply holding the Waterpik against the teeth and gums, you can clean your teeth more effectively and more comfortably than with string floss.
Is using a Waterpik better than flossing?
The Waterpik can be more effective at removing plaque and tartar for some, including those with braces. Clinical studies have show the Waterpik to be effective at maintaining good oral health in the following ways:
- 51 percent more effective than traditional floss at reducing gum disease through the gentle cleaning of gums
- Two times more effective than traditional floss at reducing bleeding and sensitive gums
- 29 percent more effective than traditional floss at removing plaque and reducing the chances of developing oral health complications
- Up to three times more effective than traditional floss at cleaning teeth with braces
While prices vary depending on the option you choose, the Waterpik costs anywhere from $50-100 per device, with options for children, adults, and dental professionals and providers.
Let Parris Orthodontics Fix Your Smile
At Parris Orthodontics, we treat each patient the way we would want to be treated - with great care, kindness, and respect. Whether you are thinking of getting braces for your child or are wanting to correct your own smile, we can help you achieve the results you’ve been looking for. Contact us today and schedule your evaluation!
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT