Flossing with Braces

Flossing with Braces

Nov 28, 2023

Oral hygiene is a paramount aspect of everyone’s daily routine, and its importance is amplified when you or your child has braces. Flossing with braces can be a challenging task, but it’s essential to maintain a healthy smile.

Proper oral hygiene is crucial when wearing braces to prevent plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease. The wires and brackets create spaces where food particles can easily get trapped, making it challenging to clean teeth thoroughly. Failing to maintain good oral hygiene can prolong the duration of the orthodontic treatment and lead to unwanted dental issues. Therefore, flossing with braces is essential for ensuring a healthy perfect smile.

Flossing with Braces

Flossing is a crucial part of oral hygiene. The small piece of floss may not seem significant, but its role in maintaining oral health is huge. No matter how well you brush your teeth, a toothbrush can’t reach all the nooks and crannies like floss can.

By flossing and brushing, you’re removing food and bacteria that can lead to staining and cavities. It also helps prevent gingivitis and other oral health problems that can be problematic later in life. It’s recommended to brush at least twice and floss once daily, especially when you have braces.

But flossing with braces presents a unique set of challenges. The wires and brackets create obstacles that make traditional flossing techniques difficult to perform. The tight spaces between the teeth and around the brackets require special attention to ensure thorough cleaning. Neglecting to floss properly can lead to plaque accumulation, bad breath, and even tooth discoloration.

Moreover, improper flossing techniques can cause damage to the braces themselves. Using excessive force or incorrect motions can dislodge wires or brackets, leading to discomfort and potential setbacks in the orthodontic treatment. It is crucial to understand these challenges and learn the correct approach to flossing with braces to maintain optimal oral health throughout the treatment process.

Step by Step Guide to Flossing with Braces

Step 1: Brush Your Teeth
First, brush your teeth to remove bacteria, food particles, and plaque. Ensure your brush reaches all surfaces of your teeth.

Step 2: Prepare Your Floss
Take a piece of floss around 20 cm long and wrap the ends around your index finger so you have a tight grip.

Step 3: Thread the Floss
Line up the floss with the gap between your teeth and thread between the wire and your teeth.

Step 4: Floss Between Your Teeth
Move the floss between the teeth, along the vertical sides of each tooth and into the movable gum tissue to remove any food particles and plaque build-up.

Step 5: Manage Used Floss
Curl the used floss around your finger after flossing each tooth so you don’t put germs back into your mouth.

Step 6: Repeat
Move on to the next tooth and repeat the process.

Waterpicks - Game Changer

Waterpicks, also known as oral irrigators, work by using a pulsating stream of water to clean between the teeth and along the gumline. Unlike traditional flossing, which uses a thin string to remove plaque and food particles,

Waterpicks use the power of water to dislodge debris and bacteria from hard to reach areas. The device typically consists of a water reservoir, a motorised pump, and a handheld wand with a nozzle. When the device is turned on, water is pumped from the reservoir through the wand, where it exits through the nozzle in a controlled stream. The pulsating action of the water helps to massage the gums and stimulate blood flow, promoting gum health.

Benefits of using a Waterpick

Using a Waterpick as part of your daily oral hygiene routine can offer several benefits beyond traditional flossing.

Firstly, Waterpicks provide a gentle and comfortable experience for those with sensitive gums or teeth. The pulsating water stream is less likely to cause irritation or bleeding compared to the tugging motion of floss. This makes Waterpicks an ideal option for individuals who find flossing uncomfortable or difficult.

Secondly, Waterpicks are highly effective in removing plaque and reducing the risk of gum disease. Studies have shown that Waterpicks can remove up to 99.9% of plaque from treated areas, making them a powerful tool in maintaining oral health. By removing plaque and bacteria from the gumline and between teeth, Waterpicks can help prevent the development of gum disease, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Regular use of a Waterpick, in conjunction with brushing, can significantly improve overall oral hygiene and reduce the need for costly dental treatments down the line.

Another benefit of using a Waterpick is the potential for improved gum health. The pulsating water stream can help to stimulate blood circulation in the gums, promoting gum tissue health and reducing inflammation. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with gum disease or those at risk of developing it.

By incorporating a Waterpick into your oral hygiene routine, you can proactively care for your gums and maintain a healthy mouth.

Waterpicks vs Traditional Flossing

Traditional flossing has long been considered the gold standard in oral hygiene. However, Waterpicks offer several advantages over traditional flossing techniques.

Firstly, Waterpicks are easier to use and require less manual dexterity than floss. For individuals with limited mobility or dexterity issues, using a Waterpick can be a game- hanger in maintaining good oral hygiene. The handheld wand and nozzle make it simple to maneuver the device and reach all areas of the mouth.

Secondly, Waterpicks are more efficient at removing plaque and food particles from hard-to-reach areas. The pulsating water stream can reach deep into the spaces between teeth, flushing out debris that floss may have missed. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with crowded or tightly spaced teeth, as traditional flossing may be less effective in these cases. Additionally, Waterpicks can be especially useful for individuals with braces, as they can clean around brackets and wires more effectively than floss.

While Waterpicks offer many advantages, it’s important to note that they should not completely replace traditional flossing. Flossing is still necessary to remove plaque and debris from the tooth surfaces and should be done in conjunction with using a Waterpick. The combination of both techniques can provide a comprehensive cleaning and ensure optimal oral health.

Common mistakes to avoid

While flossing with braces, it is essential to be aware of common mistakes that can hinder your progress. Avoid the following errors to ensure effective cleaning and prevent any damage to your orthodontic treatment:

  • Skipping flossing
    Neglecting to floss regularly can lead to plaque buildup and dental issues. Make it a priority to floss at least once a day.
  • Flossing too aggressively
    Using excessive force can dislodge wires or brackets, causing discomfort and potential setbacks in your orthodontic treatment. Be gentle yet thorough when flossing.
  • Cutting the floss too short
    Ensure that you have enough floss to maneuver comfortably between your teeth and around the braces. Cutting the floss too short may make it challenging to reach all the necessary areas.
  • Rushing the process
    Flossing with braces requires extra time and attention. Avoid rushing through the process to ensure thorough cleaning.
  • Neglecting professional check-ups
    Regular dental check ups are crucial during orthodontic treatment. Schedule appointments with your orthodontist for professional cleanings and guidance on maintaining optimal oral health.

FAQS - Flossing with Braces

  • Is It More Important for People with Braces to Floss?
    Yes, wearing braces means there are far more areas where food particles can get trapped and this attracts bacteria.
  • Why Does Flossing Hurt?
    Flossing may hurt your gums if you haven’t flossed consistently. If that’s the case, keep up with flossing and your gums will settle down.
  • Should I Keep the Floss Away from My Gums?
    It’s important to use floss in your gum line, but you want to do it carefully.
  • Can You Floss Before Brushing?
    If you have food stuck between your teeth or braces, you can use floss to help dislodge it.
  • Do I Need to Floss Every Day?
    It only takes 24-36 hours for plaque to harden on teeth. By flossing every 24 hours, you don’t give plaque the chance to harden.


Flossing with braces is crucial for maintaining optimal oral health and achieving a perfect smile. Although it may present some challenges, with the right tools, techniques, and consistency, you can overcome them and ensure thorough cleaning. Remember to be gentle, take your time, and seek professional guidance when needed.

By incorporating flossing into your daily oral hygiene routine and complementing it with regular dental check ups, you will be on your way to perfectly aligned teeth and a perfect smile. Embrace the journey of orthodontic treatment with confidence, knowing that your commitment to proper flossing will contribute to a healthier, more beautiful you.