McDonough Orthodontics’ Guide to Flossing with Braces: Tips for a Healthy Smile

By November 14, 2023Uncategorized

A person with braces on her teeth, flossing, McDonough Orthodontics’ Guide to Flossing with Braces: Tips for a Healthy Smile

Are you struggling with flossing now that you have braces? We’ve got you covered, from tackling those hard-to-reach spots to preventing plaque buildup. Say goodbye to the frustration because this guide will help you with your dental hygiene routine. Flossing with braces can be tricky, but it’s essential for maintaining a healthy smile. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll give you our expert tips to make flossing with braces a breeze.

The Importance of Flossing with Braces

Flossing is essential to your oral hygiene, and it becomes even more important when you have braces. Braces create additional nooks and crannies where food particles and plaque accumulate, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Failing to floss regularly with braces can lead to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath, and even white spots on your teeth once we remove your braces. By understanding the significance of flossing with braces, you can prioritize this essential step in your daily dental care routine.

Regular Flossing with Braces Contributes to a Brighter, Healthier Smile.

When food particles and plaque are left to accumulate around braces, it can lead to staining and discoloration of the teeth. Flossing helps to remove these particles and prevents the development of unsightly marks, allowing you to maintain a confident and radiant smile throughout your orthodontic journey.

Challenges of Flossing with Braces

Flossing with braces presents unique challenges due to the wires, brackets, and other orthodontic appliances, making it difficult to access the spaces between and around the teeth. Traditional flossing methods may not be practical or easy to use, leading to frustration and potential neglect of flossing altogether. However, overcoming these challenges is crucial for maintaining optimal oral health while wearing braces.

In addition, braces can cause discomfort and sensitivity, especially during the initial stages of treatment and after adjustments. This discomfort may make individuals hesitant to floss, fearing it will add to any soreness or irritation.

Another common challenge of flossing with braces is the risk of damaging the orthodontic hardware. Improper flossing techniques or using the wrong tools can result in broken wires or dislodged brackets.

Tools and Techniques for Flossing with Braces

Overcoming the challenges of flossing with braces requires the right tools and techniques tailored to the unique needs of orthodontic patients. Fortunately, several innovative products and methods are available to simplify the flossing process and ensure effective plaque removal around braces.

A Floss Threader

Floss threaders are one of the effective tools for flossing with braces. This device features a flexible plastic tip that allows you to thread the floss under the wires of your braces, enabling you to reach between the teeth and along the gum line more easily. Using a floss threader, you can navigate the orthodontic hardware and clean those hard-to-reach areas without hassle.

Orthodontic Floss

Another popular option for flossing with braces is orthodontic floss, which is designed to be stiffer and more durable than traditional floss. Orthodontic floss is specially formulated to withstand the pressure of navigating between braces and archwires, making it an ideal choice for individuals undergoing orthodontic treatment. This type of floss is available in waxed and unwaxed varieties. You can try them both and see which works best for you.

Interdental Brushes

Interdental brushes can be valuable for maintaining oral hygiene with braces. These tiny brushes are designed to fit between teeth and around braces, effectively removing plaque and food debris in areas that may be challenging to reach with traditional floss. Interdental brushes come in various sizes to accommodate different interdental spaces, providing customizable cleaning options for individuals with braces.

Water Flossers:

Water flossers offer a convenient and thorough alternative to traditional flossing methods for those who prefer a more advanced approach to oral hygiene. This device uses a targeted stream of water to dislodge food particles and plaque from between teeth and around braces, providing a gentle yet effective cleaning experience. Many orthodontic patients find water flossers user-friendly and efficient for maintaining oral health during braces treatment.

Step-by-step guide to flossing with braces:

  1. Gather all the necessary supplies, including floss threaders, orthodontic floss, interdental brushes, or a water flosser.
  2. If you’re using traditional floss with a floss threader, cut a suitable length of floss and thread it through the loop of the floss threader. For orthodontic floss, unwind an adequate amount for your flossing session.
  3. When using a floss threader, carefully guide the tip of the floss threader under the wire of your braces between two teeth. Once the floss is in position, remove the floss threader, leaving the floss in place for cleaning. For orthodontic floss, navigate the floss between your teeth and around the braces, ensuring thorough coverage of all surfaces.
  4. Gently move the floss up and down between each pair of teeth, reaching the gum line. Take your time to ensure thorough cleaning between each tooth, including those hidden by the braces.
  5. If you prefer interdental brushes, select the appropriate size for the spaces between your teeth and around your braces. Insert the brush between each tooth and along the gum line, moving it back and forth to dislodge any buildup and ensure comprehensive cleaning.
  6. When using a water flosser, adjust the pressure settings to your comfort and position the flosser tip at a 90-degree angle to your gum line. Guide the stream of water between each tooth and around the braces, allowing it to remove debris and plaque effectively.
  7. Repeat and Rinse: Continue flossing and cleaning between each tooth until you have addressed the entire dental arch. Once you’ve finished flossing, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to remove any loosened particles and residual cleaning agents.

Following this step-by-step guide, you can establish a consistent and effective flossing routine that supports your oral health and complements your braces treatment.

Benefits of Regularly Flossing for Oral Health

Regular flossing offers a multitude of benefits for your overall oral health, and these advantages are particularly impactful for individuals wearing braces. By committing to a consistent flossing routine, you can experience a range of favorable outcomes that contribute to the well-being and longevity of your teeth, gums, and braces.

One of the primary benefits of regular flossing is preventing plaque accumulation. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that adheres to the surfaces of teeth and braces, leading to tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues. By flossing diligently, you can remove plaque from areas that may be difficult to reach with a toothbrush alone, reducing the risk of dental problems and maintaining a clean and healthy mouth.

Flossing with braces aids in the prevention of white spots or decalcification marks on the teeth. When plaque is left to accumulate around


Using the right dental products can make a difference when flossing with braces. Traditional flossing methods may be less effective or convenient when brackets and wires are in your mouth. That’s why investing in specialized tools designed to make flossing with braces more manageable is essential.

If you have difficulties with dental floss getting stuck in your braces, we suggest you talk with Dr. McDonough. He can assess your specific situation with braces and provide personalized recommendations to address your flossing challenges. Additionally, he can check for any issues with the braces that could be causing the problem. Tell him about your flossing concerns so he can offer solutions to help you overcome these challenges with braces. Contact us and schedule a consultation with Dr. McDonough.

Your Friendly Team

McDonough Orthodontists

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