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There are challenges that go with wearing braces. Perhaps the biggest one is keeping them clean. The nooks and crannies formed by braces create ideal hiding spots for bacteria that lead to cavities and gum problems.
Patients who don’t take care of their teeth risk even more dental decay than they would have without the braces. People with braces, therefore, need to be more careful about tooth care.
Certain foods can damage braces. Sticky food, hard food, crunchy food, and sweets are the four troublemakers for those who wear braces.
Sticky foods like gum, taffy, and caramels can release cement and break the brackets. Hard food like apples and carrots must be cut into bite-sized pieces so they won’t crack appliances. Crunchy foods like corn chips, popcorn and nuts should be avoided for the same reason. And sweets, because they feed bacteria when caught between braces, should be avoided as much as possible.
To prevent food accumulation and risk of decay, people with braces should brush after every meal, and floss at least twice a day.
Flossing is more of a challenge because the wires make the operation difficult. There are two types of flossing: water flossing and traditional flossing with the strings. Using a water flosser is so much easier than the traditional way. In this guide, you will find how to floss in any of these ways.
How to floss with braces: traditional flossing
The right way to floss with braces is to first direct the floss under the archwire. This can be done in one of two ways. The first way is to take floss and thread it under the archwire directly. This is sometimes difficult because if the gums are in the way, the floss will bend so you will not be capable to get it under the archwire.
The second way is to use a floss threader, which looks like a plastic needle. To use a floss threader pass a piece of floss through the threader and then use it to direct the floss under the archwire. It is often easier to direct the floss threader away from the gums so you won’t accidentally poke your gums. After the floss is under the archwire, you can start flossing.
To floss, gently push the floss through the contact point of two teeth, then wrap the floss around one tooth in the form of the letter C and smoothly move the floss up and down. Make sure to clean below the gums because this is a typical place where bacteria and food bits are trapped. When you are finished with the side of one tooth, clean the side of the tooth next to it in the same manner.
Then remove the floss from under the archwire and continue to do the next tooth. Work your way around your mouth until the sides of all your teeth have been cleaned
At first, flossing may take a long time but as you practice every day you will get better and faster at flossing your teeth. Make it a habit to floss at least once a day.
As you could see, the traditional way of flossing with braces requires patience and time. But you could choose the modern alternative: water flossing.
How to floss with braces: water flossing
The water floss acts as a substitute for normal flossing. There are so many different types of water flossers. Some of them have a big water tank and you put on your bathroom sink. But you can buy also a portable one. You may easily choose a water flosser that meets your particular needs and your price range.
The first step is just to fill your water flosser up with water. I suggest lukewarm that works the best. Then you turn it on and set the pressure to high. You start off with the classic jet tip, this is just basically an all-rounder. This is the main flossing tip and then you just go all around your mouth. It gets all gross food out your mouth and it just works like a normal flosser would, but without the effort.
After this, you have to use the orthodontic tip this is specifically for braces and it just cleans the brackets. It’s easier and it gives you a refreshing feeling.
The last step is to set the pressure to low and to use the pickpocket tip. You just run it along with all your gums and this makes your gums really healthy. That’s all.
Here’s a video on how to floss with braces using a water flosser:
Then, which alternative do you prefer to floss your teeth and braces?