When you have braces, it’s important to have a good oral hygiene routine at home. The wire and brackets creates more surfaces for bacteria and food to adhere to. Teeth that aren’t kept clean, especially when you are wearing braces, can result in oral health concerns. Flossing and other tools are designed to scrub the difficult to reach places that are easily missed by a toothbrush. Flossing is most effective method of cleaning between your teeth. In addition; here are other methods that are also good options to maintain a healthy smile while you straighten your teeth.
1. Waxed floss
Waxed floss is less likely to get tear and become stuck in your braces. Use a floss threader (looks like a plastic loop attached to a stiff end) to thread the floss behind the wire or you can do this without a threader and just use your fingers if the gap is easy to navigate. Use a mirror to help you thread underneath the wires. Be gentle; you do not want to pull on the wire/braces when you are flossing as you can debond the brackets off of your teeth. An example of a floss thread is “Eez-Thru” by GUM
This package comes in pre-cut strands with one stiff end (similar to the floss threader) that is used to thread underneath the wire. The remainder consists of 2 sections of floss; one half is regular waxed floss and the other half is thicker and spongy to clean around braces. A common example is “Superfloss” by Oral B.
These are small bristle brushes that look similar to a pipe cleaner; they can easily fit behind the wire and in between teeth to clean those surfaces. This is not as good as flossing but can be in addition to flossing for hard to reach areas.
These are analogous to a soft rubber toothpick that can be used to pick food from between your teeth. These are small enough to fit in your pocket and can be used in settings where you are not able to floss but have some food stuck in your teeth.
Flossing sticks were traditionally used for those who did not have the manual dexterity to floss with their hands or those who needed a quicker way to floss their teeth. Specialized flossing sticks have been designed for those with braces, as one end is thin enough to insert between your teeth and the wire. This tool is effective and flossing your entire mouth and can also fit in your pocket if you wanted to take it with you. Examples of flossing sticks are “Plackers OrthoPick” and “Platypus Ortho Flosser”.
A narrow stream of water shoots out of the tip and will remove particles of food and clean between your teeth. This is not as good as flossing, but can be in addition to flossing for hard to reach areas. This unique tool allows you to clean between teeth and braces in three to five minutes. An example of a water flosser is “Waterpik”.
Using an electric toothbrush is strongly recommended when you have braces. It is important to maintain your regular cleaning and check up schedule to allow for your dentist to monitor the progress of the braces as well as oral hygiene.