When one has braces, making sure that you get rid of all of the bacteria in your mouth is even more important, and also a lot more difficult. After all, having braces on one’s teeth makes brushing and flossing a lot more difficult to do. But, it still has to be done regularly. In fact, it might be even more important than ever. More food particles can get trapped in the wires, and if not cleaned out, can become bacteria. This bacteria can lead to infections, which if not treated, can lead to more tooth loss, bone loss, and other serious health issues.
What Happens if You Do Not Floss?
When you do not floss your teeth, you can end up with a variety of oral health issues, which can lead to problems with your health in general. When you have braces, it is even more important to floss, because more food, plaque, etc. can get trapped between the wires. When you can’t get all of this out, it can turn to bacteria, which can lead to:
- Gingivitis– This is an early warning sign that you have, or will soon have gum disease. Your gums will look red and swollen. They may be shiny, and they will bleed easily. Gingivitis is caused by plaque which causes irritation in the gum tissue, which in turn causes infections.
- Decalcification – This is a problem that affects the enamel of your teeth. White spots, or lesions, are appear on the teeth. They are caused by the plaque and the acid that is produced after you have something to eat or drink. This is not a problem that can be fixed, so you need to take steps to prevent it, which include regular flossing.
Brushing and Flossing with Braces
To make sure that you get rid of as much plaque as possible, you need to not only brush the surfaces of your teeth, but also around each part of the braces. If possible, it should be done right after every meal or snack. At the very least, you should rinse your mouth out with water. Talk to your dentist about the best types of toothbrushes to use while you are wearing braces.
You also need to floss. Many braces wearers find that it is a lot easier to do this using a floss threader, but there are other options, including a waterpik. This is actually clinically proven to be more effective than traditional dental floss. You should also use toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride, as it will help to kill the germs that cause bacteria. Also, make sure that you have regular dental checkups, and keep up with them after the braces come off.
Let’s talk about the different ways to floss while wearing braces, and how to properly floss with each of the methods.
- Use Waxed Floss– Whenever possible, use waxed floss instead of unwaxed floss. Without braces, unwaxed is best. But, if you are wearing braces, unwaxed floss could get caught up in the wires. Waxed floss will easily slide through.
- Use the Right Amount of Floss – It is recommended that you use a piece of floss that is approximately 12 to 18 inches in length, to make sure that you get at as much plaque and food particles as possible.
- Thread Behind the Wires – When flossing, hold the floss with one hand, just a few inches past the end. Thread it over or under the main wires, from behind, and pull it through the wires so there is just enough slack to grab the other end. You need to be careful while doing this, to make sure that you don’t actually pull on the wires of the braces.
- Pull the Floss – Now, while holding ends of the floss in each hand, wrap each end around the index fingers and grip it tightly. Move the index fingers so the floss goes gently in and out of the space you are working on.
- Slide it Up and Down – Next, hold the floss and slide it up and down in the space between the teeth and braces. Make sure that you rub the floss against the sides of your teeth as you pull it. This is going to help scrub off as much of the plaque as possible.
- Pull it Out – Now, carefully pull out the floss. Make sure that you do this slowly, so as to not get the floss caught on your braces.
- Do the Rest – Once you have finished cleaning one space, continue to do this until you have flossed between all of your teeth.
When flossing, it is important to take your time to make sure it is done properly. When you have braces, it takes a lot longer to floss than normal. If you notice any bleeding around the gums, do not worry. This is normal, especially right after you get your braces because there will be some inflammation.
Using a Threader
Another option is to use a floss threader. This is a lot easier than holding the floss in your fingers, and it makes it easier to get between your teeth and behind the braces. A threader resembles a small, plastic needle. Simply thread the floss onto the needle, in the same manner as you would if you were threading a regular sewing needle. Then, insert the threader under the braces archwire, and start pulling the floss through. Floss the same way that you would if you were holding the floss in your hands. Use the same threader for all of your teeth.
Using a Water Flosser
A lot of dentists are recommending that their patients use a water flosser, also referred to as an oral irrigator, in addition to using traditional dental floss. In fact, it is recommended for everyone, whether they wear braces or not. You can get one of these tools anywhere that toothbrushes and other dental cleaning implements are sold. Many dentists also sell them right in their offices. Using a water flosser is easy, once you get the hang of it, and it gets rid of a lot more dirt than regular floss does.
- Fill the Reservoir– The first step is to fill the reservoir with water. Fill it to the indicator line, and empty it when you are through. Always use clean water to avoid bacteria.
- Add Mouthwash – Add a bit of mouthwash to the water. This is going to increase protection, and help to prevent gum disease.
- Aim the Spray – Turn on the water flosser, and aim the spray to the spaces between your teeth. It will blast out anything that the floss may have missed. You might even want to go back in with more floss after, to get the dirt that was loosened but didn’t come out.
Not only does a water flosser make it easy to get more plaque and food particles from between your teeth, it can help with gum health. The water spray provides a massage for your gums, which can help to stimulate them and bring them back to good health.
Using Dental Tape
Dental tape is another popular option, and it can often be better than floss for many patients who find that flossing can be painful. Dental tape is basically a type of dental floss, but it is flat and wide, sort of resembling a ribbon. It is used in the same manner as traditional dental floss, but it is more comfortable to use.
Using a Proxy Brush
Many dentists recommend a proxy brush for people who wear braces. These are small brushes that are pointed and flexible. They also have cone-shaped bristles. This shape makes cleaning behind braces a lot easier than just using a regular toothbrush. All you have to do is place the brush between the teeth and beneath the wire, and then start scrubbing as you would with a regular toothbrush. Proxy brushes aren’t always sold in regular stores. You may need to ask your dentist about getting one. Do not use a proxy brush in replacement of floss, because floss is far more effective when it comes to getting rid of the most dirt. Using some toothpaste on the proxy brush can help to get rid of even more dirt.
Using an Orthodontic Brush
This is another special toothbrush, but instead of being shaped like cones, the bristles are V-shaped. These bristles can really get in behind the braces to get your teeth clean. Again, do not use an orthodontic brush alone. To get the absolute best results, you need to use a combination of an orthodontic brush and dental floss.
Kids and Braces
Obviously, it is important to make sure that your kids know all about proper oral hygiene and dental care from an early age. But, if you have a kid with braces, it is even more important that they be diligent about their oral hygiene routine. It can be difficult with younger children, because they do often forget or just plain don’t want to take part in their own oral care. But, it is necessary, so you also need to take part, and make sure that when the braces come, your child is going to have an amazing smile.
Use the Right Tools
It is important that you always use the right tool for flossing. When it comes to flossing kids’ teeth, there are some tools that are better than others. Many dentists will recommend flossing with a braces waterpic. This basically delivers a very fine stream of water, and you can aim it at the areas between your teeth. It is a powerful stream, and it will push out any food particles, plaque, etc. to help your kids keep their teeth and gums clean.
Get them Flossing with a Braces Waterpik
If you are going to use this flossing method, be sure to read a number of waterpic for braces reviews. Some products work a lot better than others, and they offer much more value for your money. With braces, floss can get stuck. This isn’t going to happen to a spray of water, and it will likely get rid of even more oral dirt and bacteria.
Flossing with braces isn’t the easiest chore in the world, and your kids may get a bit slack about it. You need to remind them to do it after each meal. At the very least, make sure that they floss following breakfast and dinner. They may forget at lunch, and you won’t be around to remind them, but at least they will be flossing, and it will be easy if they have the best waterpik for braces.
Before you go out and buy a waterpik, it is a good idea to check out at least a few waterpik for braces reviews. Not all of these tools are going to be right for children, especially smaller children. You can also use braces floss, or even dental tape.
Flossing and Younger Children
If you have younger children who need to wear braces, you will likely need to help them with the flossing. Small children just don’t have the manual dexterity to be able to floss properly. Get them to kneel or sit in an area where there is plenty of light for you to see what you are doing. If they fidget too much while sitting, they can also stand. You can also put them in front of the TV so they have something to watch while you are flossing their teeth with the braces water flosser.
Good oral hygiene is necessary for good oral health. It is even more necessary when you wear braces. Think about how much dirt and plaque gets stuck between your teeth normally, and then multiply that by 10 when you have braces. Every little crumb of food can get caught up in the wires, and you need to make sure that you get it all out as soon as you can after eating. The longer you wait, the longer it has a chance to turn into bacteria, which can lead to infections. You are wearing braces to achieve a great smile. Make sure that you brush and floss your teeth regularly, and your teeth will not only be straight, but also clean and bright.