You just got braces. You are in for a challenge. The challenge isn’t eating or talking. The challenge is keeping them clean. Good news, you have lots of options for maintaining the health of your teeth and gums while wearing braces. As a dental hygienist, I would like to explain the best dental floss for braces and what you need to know for brushing and flossing your teeth with braces.
While wearing braces, you will be more prone to decay (cavities), gum disease and bad breath. Brushing your teeth with braces is not as hard as it may sound. I will cover the correct way to do just that. More importantly, is learning to floss properly with braces. Not cleaning these areas effectively will be more of an issue than not brushing properly.
No worries, after reading this article, you will be a pro! You will learn a quick and easy way to conquer your challenge of flossing with braces. Also, this is a must read for parents of children with braces. Helping your child care for their teeth while wearing braces can be the difference between a good and bad outcome of orthodontic treatment.
Flossing With Braces- The Easy Way….
Having braces creates an obstacle for floss because the connected wires get in the way. This makes traditional flossing techniques impossible. Platypus Co. has designed a hand-held flossing tool that easily slips under the wire called a Platypus Orthodontic Flosser. This product is the #1 orthodontic flosser recommended by orthodontists.
The Platypus Orhodontic Flosser makes flossing effortless as this tool easily fits between orthodontic brackets and under wires. In under two minutes, you will be able to floss your whole mouth.
- Keep teeth and gums healthy during orthodontic treatment.
- Fast and easy. Using this product increases compliance of flossing with braces by over 84%.
- Will not damage brackets or wires during flossing.
- No need to floss using threaders and traditional floss.
- Thin edge simply slides under your wires to floss as if no wires are present.
- This patented design is an innovative flosser most recommended by dental professionals and orthodontists.
How to Use the Platypus Orthodontic Flosser:
- Insert spatula end of the flosser (thinner side) under your wire and press against the teeth.
- With spatula against your teeth bringing the floss taut, slide the flosser between your teeth and up under your gumline on either side of your teeth.
- In difficult to reach areas, it is important to maintain pressure against your teeth.
- The bracket brush on the opposite end is used for cleaning around individual brackets.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), cleaning between your teeth is essential. The ADA states that interdental cleaning removes plaque and debris from between teeth that can lead to gum disease and cavities. These are areas a toothbrush can’t effectively clean.
Using an interdental brush or a proxabrush will help to clean under your wires. This is a useful tool to clean in between your teeth as well. You can use a proxabrush in conjunction with an electric toothbrush to achieve optimal plaque control while wearing your braces. Refer to the following article to chose the best electric toothbrush.
Proxabrush is the #1 best-selling interdental brush made by Butler GUM. It is the most recommended brush for cleaning between your teeth by dental professionals. This type of interdental brush comes in various sizes and lengths. The brush size you use will be determined by the size and location of the spaces between your teeth.
This unit can come with a longer handle for hard to reach back areas of your teeth. It also comes in portable units that will easily fit in your pocket and can be used on-the-go. These convenient pocket-size versions are the most popular versions of a proxabrush and are called Go-Between brushes.
Try a Water Flosser
Waterpik water flossers are a convenient and effective way to floss it you have braces. Clinical studies have proven that flossing with a Waterpik water flosser will remove twice as much floss as traditional floss. Waterpik has a special tip that can be used for orthodontic patients.
Choosing the best Waterpik is easy. Refer to the following article when deciding which Waterpik is right for you.
Why Is Flossing Important With Braces
Cleaning between your teeth is especially important while undergoing orthodontic treatment. You are much more likely to suffer from cavities and gum disease due to improper cleaning of your braces. The brackets and wires are ideal hiding places for the more than 500 species of bacteria that live in bacterial plaque.
Improper removal of bacterial plaque can cause demineralization of your enamel. This will set you up for permanent white spots on your enamel that are prone to decay. If you are not removing plaque around your brackets or from between your teeth, bacteria in plaque will give off toxins which can cause gum disease.
Another name for gum disease is periodontal disease. According to Wikipedia, periodontal disease affects nearly half of people over age 30 and 65% of those over age 70.
The Best Toothbrush for Braces
Hands down, the best tool you can use for brushing your teeth with braces is an electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush will give you 30,000 to 50,000 brush strokes per minute compared to the mere 500 brush strokes per minute of a manual toothbrush.
Not only will you have more cleaning capability, you will have a built-in two-minute timer on your electric toothbrush. This is a very useful feature and will allow you to brush for the full two-minute recommended brushing time. Most brushes come with a built-in sensor which indicates when you are brushing too hard. This will prevent any damage to your teeth and gums. Overbrushing can be an issue with braces as some people are overly aggressive with brushing while wearing braces.
There are several electric toothbrushes to fit your orthodontic needs. The two most popular and most recommended by dental professionals are the Oral-B and Sonicare electric toothbrushes. Please refer to a related article when deciding which electric toothbrush is right for you.
Don’t get discouraged. You’ve got this! Cleaning between your braces doesn’t have to be difficult. When you choose the Platypus Orthodontic Flosser, the best dental floss for braces, flossing will be a cinch. Trust me, you will be glad you have put in the effort once you see the amazing results of your orthodontic treatment.
Whether you use a Platypus Orthodontic Flosser, interdental cleaner (Proxabrush) or a Waterpik is a matter of personal preference. To clean between your braces, it is important to learn the proper technique for each method to be effective.
The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes and visiting your dentist regularly.
Please leave any questions or comments below and I would be happy to help!
The information that I provide on my website is not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Care and investigation should always be sought from an appropriate health care provider before using any new or recommended products. I have created this site as a way to share information and experiences.
I must say that I value all you shared here. Honestly, this is really great information considering my lack of knowledge on the benefits of interdental cleaning before and how essential a dental floss can be. Though the slight challenges that may be for people with braces like me is rather difficult but good to know it can be worked around. Thanks!
Michelle Mussehl, RDH
Many people going through orthodontic treatment focus on brushing their teeth and braces. However, they forget to focus on the importance of cleaning between their teeth. Wearing braces creates a challenge due to the arch wire being in the way to allow for traditional flossing. Choosing one of the methods in ‘Best Dental Floss for Braces-What You Need to Know’ will be very beneficial to your orthodontic outcome.
Hello Michelle, thanks to you for such a clear and helpful article. I have so many reasons to be here and I have been looking for such an article. My daughter has just gotten her braces put on. Being the first time, I really don’t know much about it. This article has given me some level of clarity and I really appreciate your help.
Michelle Mussehl, RDH
As a parent, you will want to make sure your child is doing their best to keep their teeth clean while wearing braces. It is definitely going to be more challenging for them to control plaque accumulation. I am a parent of two children who went through years of braces. The combination of Platypus flossers, an electric toothbrush and an oral irrigator helped tremendously. I recommend these products to all my patients undergoing orthodontic treatment.