Brushing your teeth twice a day is a good start, but it can’t be the whole of your process. Flossing is a crucial part of your at-home oral hygiene routine. Studies have shown that flossing reduces your risk of tooth decay and prevents gum disease and gum inflammation. But despite the health benefits that flossing carries, about a third of people don’t floss at all, let alone every day!
Unfortunately, when you have traditional braces, complete with brackets and wires, flossing gets a little more complicated. Rather than neglecting your oral hygiene while your teeth are being straightened, it’s more important than ever to keep on top of your brushing and flossing so that when your braces come off, your teeth aren’t just straight, but also healthy.
Flossing With Braces
Traditional braces can make flossing more time-consuming and challenging than it was before. With wires getting in the way, too many people with braces skip flossing. But this can leave you with gum disease or cavities.
To start, floss the parts of your teeth that you can reach without threading the floss under the wire. It’s easy to focus on where the teeth meet the gums, but food debris and plaque can build up anywhere between teeth. Next, thread the floss under the wire between two teeth and floss all the way down to the gumline. If you struggle with getting the floss threaded, you may want to pick up some floss threaders — they’re flexible plastic tools that make it easier to get the floss underneath the wire. Or, you can try the dental floss that comes in pre-cut lengths with a stiffened end to make threading easier. Then, repeat that between every pair of teeth.
This means that the process of flossing takes a little longer, but once you get into the habit, it should quickly become a natural part of your routine. And it’s well worth it, when you consider how beautiful your smile will look when you get your braces off.
Ditch the Brackets and Wires
Of course, if you really want to make flossing a snap, you can skip the traditional braces entirely. Instead, you may want to consider a removable, clear aligner like Invisalign. Invisalign can straighten teeth just as quickly and efficiently as traditional braces, but instead of placing metal brackets and wires on your teeth, obstructing your oral hygiene routines and interrupting your smile, Invisalign clear aligners can be easily removed. You can take out your Invisalign to eat, to brush and floss, or even for a date or big meeting where you want to make sure to look your best.
If you’re ready to straighten out a crooked smile, your dentist can help you decide whether traditional metal braces or Invisalign is a better fit for you. Either way, it’s important to keep up with your oral hygiene routines, including flossing! Feel free to ask your dentist for tips if you feel that your orthodontics are getting in the way of your brushing and flossing.