Taking care of your oral health by flossing after brushing your teeth is a habit that everyone should cultivate. This helps to make sure that areas that can’t be reached by brushing alone are taken care of, and it involves taking a PTFE or wax-coated piece of thread in between every two adjacent teeth.
But given the way braces are attached, people who wear them have to take extra precautions in using dental floss because doing it the wrong way can damage the braces, further delaying the already lengthy treatment.
How people with braces shouldn’t floss
Conventionally, the proper way of flossing is to hold the dental floss in between your teeth and go into the embrasure with a gentle up-and-down motion. But consider the way that braces are attached: there are individual brackets that attach directly on your teeth. Furthermore, there is also an archwire that goes all the way across and fits snuggly in the grooves of each individual bracket.
Because of these structural impediments, you shouldn’t floss in the same way that non-brace wearers would. If you do, the floss will pull on the archwire, and along with it comes the brackets – you run the risk of detaching the brackets from your teeth which, needless to say, isn’t ideal. Also, your teeth can shift out of place if you don’t fix a distorted wire or displaced bracket as soon as possible.
How people with braces should floss
Because flossing is beneficial for everyone, people who wear braces have to do it diligently so that they get to clean their teeth and maintain the condition of their braces.
Unlike non-brace wearers who can do it without needing to see what they’re doing, you would need to stand in front of a mirror because a little bit of precision is being called for. In order to overcome the obstruction due to the braces, you start by threading the floss beneath the archwire and in between your teeth. You can do so with the aid of a floss threader. Be careful not to tug on the archwire so that you don’t end up damaging your braces.
If you’re cleaning your upper set of teeth, focus on the half that is below the archwire first – gently slide the floss up and down so that you can remove anything that is stuck in between your teeth. Once you’re done, proceed to the next step, which is to angle your floss in an upward slant so that you can work on the upper half without tugging on the archwire. If that can’t be done because of the archire obstruction, then you would need the help of a floss threader to introduce the floss beneath the archire.
As for your lower set of teeth, start by working on the first half that is above the archwire. Afterwards, angle your floss in a downward direction so that you can clean the lower half of your teeth. Again, if that can’t be done because of the archire obstruction, then you would need the help of a floss threader.
Braces are an intricate treatment tool that involves multiple components, which is why you should do your best to take care of them properly. Just be sure that you’re taking care of them the right way – such as flossing accordingly – because you might end up doing more harm than good.
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