OHI: Flossing with Traditional Braces

When someone decides to wear braces, it may seem hard at the beginning to keep them and the teeth that surround them clean. Before anyone knows it, he can start to flash the smile he always dreamed about, as far as he is capable to keep some important steps in mind.

Dental flossing can be difficult and may need oral hygiene instructions to help

Oral hygiene is important to decrease risk of cavities and gum disease

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OHI: Flossing with Traditional Braces

Oral hygiene instructions are vital in keeping teeth clean, especially when wearing braces. When someone wears braces, it may seem hard at the beginning to keep them and the teeth that surround them clean. The metal wires on traditional braces can be difficult to keep clean and may cause problems underneath the wires and brackets in the future because of of this.

After having the teeth straightened, it will be easier in reaching the plaque found in the teeth, however, while wearing the braces, the food particles and plaque may have extra areas where they may be trapped or will accumulate. With the braces, the person should expect to spend even more time cleaning the teeth and paying extra attention to the oral hygiene of a person. This is because during the alignment of the teeth, the risk of gum disease also increases. It is also important to ensure that the teeth look better during the time of removing the braces, rather than white spots of calcification or cavities can appear.

Use of an ordinary floss

Use the waxed floss when possible due to its ease of gliding in between teeth. When someone is flossing while having the braces, then it is more important to know that there are enough of corners and metal pieces which may catch on the floss. This is why it is important to use a wax coated and thin floss if it is possible. When the floss in unwaxed, it may stick in the braces or break often.

  • How much floss to use may vary according to the hands and mouth size. Many of the dental resources do recommend using at least 12-18 inches.

Put the floss behind a brace wire: catch the floss using one hand and leave some inches.  It is important to thread carefully to ensure that the wire from the places will not be stacked. If the floss reaches around the wire, then the person has to pull it through to ensure that there is enough slack at each side where a person can grab at it. The mirror may be of enough help.

  • The user should be gentle to ensure that he does not pull at the brace wire using the floss. What it is important is to get floss behind it but not to scrub wire on itself.

Push floss within the teeth:  you can grab one end of the floss at each hand and wrap ends around index fingers with a tight grip. The user should adjust the floss to ensure that it does not run up at the bottom of every index finger’s fingertip. He should then move index finger within the mouth and to pull out the floss to ensure that it goes in the space found between teeth.

  • When someone had flossed before, then the movement will look natural. The floss has to move in the crease found within the teeth and then it should be pushed down within the mouth. With some people, this can be a tight fit and it is normal.

Sliding the floss down or up:  when the floss is found between the teeth, the person should use the fingers in order to slide up or down on the gums up to the point that it may be difficult in keeping it moving. The user should pull gently to ensure that the floss does rub against the two teeth. It is important to scrub enough on the inner space.  This should be done at least 5 times.

  • Scrubbing motion seems like it is doing nothing, however it is. Flossing is not about removing the food that got stuck but it is also more about removing the plaque. Plaque is invisible film caused by bacteria and it may cause discoloration, pain and decay when it is not dealt in the right way.

Get the floss out: catch an end of the floss and then pull it out gently. Make sure that it does not catch at the braces. This is what flossing in the teeth while wearing the braces is all about.

The process should be done on each tooth and flossing carefully between these teeth up to the furthest back molars. After scrubbing each set of the teeth at the top and at the bottom, then the person had already finished.

  • It takes time: flossing in the proper manner for someone who has braces, it may take up to 3 times longer compared to someone who does not have them. This is because such devices may get into the way of cleaning using only the brush
  • Sometime a person can experience the gum bleeding and it is something normal because sometime braces cause inflammation.

Using of a floss threader

If you are not happy of having to floss using the bare hands, then you can try out a tool named a floss threader. This is a tool that makes it easy to get the floss behind the braces. The threader looks as if it is a tiny plastic needle which is used in flossing.

Putting the floss in a threader; this is done as it happens with a sewing needle and a thread. The plastic needle should then be inserted within the arch wire of the braces and to pull the floss into the teeth.

Floss as you would do in normal circumstances:  when the floss has been put into the position, then you should catch floss in the hands and start to floss within the teeth. Pull the floss out and then repeat everything using the threader. A threader is something useful and it easy to get the floss in the correct position without having the scrap using the fingers.

  • Use caution while applying the pressure within the teeth and use gentle movement while using back or forth movement.

Buy a water flosser or waterpik

Most orthodontists and dentists recommend the use of another tool known as water flosser also called oral irrigator which may help with flossing. The Waterpik tool uses a stream of water which can help to force food particles found between the teeth but it should not replace normal flossing completely.

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