Despite being remarkably effective at treating all forms of structural issues in the mouth like overbites, misalignments, overcrowding, and jaw disorders, braces can make it hard to brush and clean your teeth. As you probably know, lack of proper hygiene can increase your chances of developing long-term problems like cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. 

Fortunately, it is still possible to keep your teeth clean, and thus healthy, even while on dental braces although it takes some time and effort to get it right.

Why And How Often You Should Floss When Wearing Braces

Braces are held together by rigid frames called brackets that not only trap food particles but also make it very difficult to remove them using regular techniques. If left long enough, these food particles, and the bacteria they support, turn into plaque, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

As such, it is recommended to floss your teeth at least once a day when wearing braces for both the above and the following reasons:

  • To prevent swollen gums
  • To reduce the development of yellow spots in between the brackets
  • To keep the teeth and gums clean, white, and healthy when the braces are no longer there.

How to Floss With Braces

To achieve the best results, you need to use the right tools for the job, including a waxed floss (won’t stick in the brackets), and a sturdy floss threader. Most importantly, you will also need a lot of time and patience as the process takes up to 3 times longer than ordinary flossing.

With that said, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Loop a piece (preferably 18-24-inch long) of the waxed floss through the threader. Ensure you get all of the floss you need to fit tightly under the wire. 
  2. Firmly wrap the ends of the floss around your fingers to improve handling stability.
  3. Place the floss between any pair of teeth and gently but firmly slide it up and down the gap between the two teeth and along their sides.
  4. Once you’re satisfied that the pair is clean, gently remove the floss from your mouth and unthread it from the wire.
  5. Repeat the process using another piece of floss and a new pair of teeth.

Flossing For Children

While flossing is as important for children as it is for adults, younger kids should ideally not floss their own teeth. Rather, they should be supervised closely by a parent or guardian.

It Takes More Than Flossing

For your flossing routine to be effective, you need to combine it with other oral care and hygiene practices as recommended by your dentist. These include:

  • Eating Healthy – Above and beyond eating foods that help your teeth e.g. milk, eggs, and lean meat, you also need to avoid hard and sticky foods like hard candies, crusty bread, and nuts. These can stick to the braces and possibly damage them.
  • Brush More Frequently – Even in the course of your daily flossing routine, make sure to still brush your teeth at least thrice a day, as recommended by scientists. While at it, ensure you cover everywhere around the brackets, teeth, and even the gums, and aim for at least two minutes of brushing.


Looking for a family orthodontist in Garden Grove for your family? Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Brandon!