How Do You Floss With Braces?

Posted on: 26 January 2015

Just the thought of trying to floss with braces can be intimidating.  In fact, you might be tempted to give up flossing entirely.  This isn't a good idea—flossing is vital for good dental health.  So what is a braces wearer to do?  Here's how you can—and why you should—floss even though you're wearing braces.

Why floss?

The main difference between brushing and flossing is that a toothbrush cleans the tops and other visible portions of your teeth, whereas flossing cleans the spaces between your teeth.  Tartar and bits of food tend to get lodged in these spaces, and the only way for you to get them out is to floss.  This is doubly important if you have braces, because the food and tartar buildup have even more spaces to lodge themselves in.

Fortunately, you have a few different options when it comes to keeping your braces clean.

Using a floss threader:

A floss threader looks like a plastic needle, and works similarly.  You thread the floss through the eye of the threader, just like you would thread a needle.  Next, you insert the threader between the wire of your braces and pull it through.  Now you can floss between your teeth just like you would if you didn't have braces.  Be sure to pay special attention to the wire itself, where bits of food might get suck.  Repeat this step until you have flossed between all of your teeth.

Using a proxy brush:

A proxy brush is a small brush covered with soft bristles.  This device is easy to use and can be slipped underneath the wires of the braces and between the teeth to remove tartar and food particles.  Again, remember to do this with all of your teeth.

Flossing like usual:

It's also possible, if a bit difficult, to bypass tools and simply floss like you would before you had braces.  Choose waxed floss, which is less likely to get caught in your braces, and carefully thread it through the wires of your braces to reach the spaces between your teeth.

It can admittedly be time-consuming to floss between your braces, and you might find yourself trying to avoid it entirely.  Don't give up!  The benefits gained by keeping your teeth clean far outweigh the time you spend cleaning them.  With just a little work, you'll know that your teeth will be healthy and gorgeous when your braces come off—and that's certainly something worth persevering for!