If your child is one of the nearly 4 million kids who begin orthodontic treatment each year, there are some things you need to know! Most important of all, is how to ensure that your child maintains excellent oral health while receiving orthodontic treatment. Here’s how to floss with braces, to prevent cavities, decay, and gum disease.
Is it Necessary to Floss While Wearing Braces?
Flossing daily is essential, especially while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Flossing removes plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that develops on the teeth after eating. It is important to remove this bacteria because it can lead to gingivitis, which is a form of mild gum disease.
Moreover, failing to remove the plaque sets the stage for tartar to develop. Tartar then promotes even more bacterial buildup, in a vicious cycle that can lead to more severe gum disease. Tartar can also lead to tooth decay (cavities), and tooth sensitivity. Lastly, tartar also leads to yellowing or brownish discoloration of the teeth.
Flossing With Braces: Tips and Techniques
The archwire which runs through the metal or clear brackets can pose a challenge to flossing. That’s precisely why tools such as a water flosser (also known as an oral irrigator or Waterpik), a floss threader, or a combination of both are so helpful.
A water flosser uses pressurized water to allow your child to clean between teeth, around the brackets, and along the gumline. Put the tapered end in the mouth, and go around each tooth. The water flosser delivers a powerful stream of water to remove bits of food and debris from around the brackets, between the teeth, and along the gumline. Water flossers are very efficient, so 3-5 minutes should be all it takes to floss the entire mouth.
Floss threaders are super affordable tools available at most drug stores. Shaped like a needle, with a hole to thread the floss through, a floss threader is soft, thin, and flexible enough to fit underneath the archwire.
To use a floss threader, thread dental floss through the eye, then insert the threader under the wire, and pull the floss through the wire. Once it’s above the wire, your child can floss normally. For best results, the floss should be pressed up and down between two teeth in a C-shape. Then move on to the next set of teeth. Using a floss threader will take longer, so make sure your child or teen plans for at least fifteen minutes to thoroughly brush between all teeth.
Learning to floss properly while wearing braces can take a bit of time. But it is worth it, to ensure your teeth remain very healthy, while they are being properly aligned.
Tips for Maintaining Healthy Teeth While Wearing Braces
In addition to daily flossing, all kids wearing braces need to brush their teeth twice a day. An electric toothbrush can help to remove plaque buildup better than a manual toothbrush, so if you’re interested, ask your pediatric dentist for a recommended brand.
While wearing braces, kids and teens should avoid whitening toothpaste. This is because the brackets cover part of the surface of the teeth, and the toothpaste can’t get under them. Nobody wants to have bright white teeth, with less-white spots on them because you couldn’t whiten under the brackets.
Be sure your child also receives regular dental exams and cleanings while wearing braces. Although daily flossing and twice-daily brushing remove most plaque, professional cleanings every six months are needed to remove more of the plaque, ensuring your teeth and gums remain in excellent health, while being straightened.
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics: Five Locations in NJ
To best serve our patients, Tender Smiles 4 Kids has five locations in New Jersey. As a complete pediatric dental and orthodontic practice, we treat infants, toddlers, children, tweens, and teens. We proudly provide dental treatment for children with dental fears and special needs. Contact us today to schedule a dental cleaning, orthodontic consultation, or anything in between.
Freehold Office: 732-625-8080
North Brunswick Office: 732-249-1010
Edison Office: 732-549-3773
Roselle Office: 908-245-5556
Ocean Office: 732-774-7008