You’ve heard that flossing is a crucial part of dental hygiene, but it’s a task that can pose some extra challenges if you have braces. Fortunately, the best floss for braces, as well as other flossing tools, can make interdental cleaning a little bit easier.
That's why having the right tools at your disposal matters — a lot. “Using floss on teeth with braces is difficult and frustrating,” Dr. Eunjung Jo, DDS,told Bustle in an interview. “Sliding the floss between the teeth above the wire is a bit like threading a needle.”
Dr. Christopher J. Rouse, DMD, agrees. “The average person struggles with flossing as it is,” he explained. “When someone gets braces, it adds a new barrier that often is difficult for them to overcome.”
However, it's important not to skip flossing, even when braces complicate the task. Dr. Steffany Mohan, DDS, explained to Bustle, "The bacteria present in the plaque can erode the teeth and irritate gums as they digest the sugars in food and produce acids. This leads to cavities and white spots on the teeth and also bad breath."
So everyone agrees that flossing is both important and a challenge when you have braces — but what kind of floss should someone with braces actually buy? In terms of traditional floss, Dr. Jo recommends a waxed floss, which is less likely to shred, or to mess with the wire of your braces. To help get traditional floss around the wires, both Dr. Jo and Dr. Rouse recommend using a floss threader. Floss threaders can take some time to use, but Dr. Jo likes them because they’re inexpensive tools that enable you to get the floss above the wire and reach the gum line. If you aren't feeling the floss threaders, there are also products that don’t require manually threading, such as floss with built-in threaders and orthodontic floss picks. And if the threading floss between your braces is too frustrating a task, you might want to opt for an electric water flosser.
"If you are just starting the 'flossing with braces journey,' don't give up,” said Dr. Rouse. “Initially, it will take some time to do it correctly, but keep at it and it will get faster and faster.” He added, “People who ignore their dental hygiene during orthodontic treatment often have to deal with a lifetime of cavity-susceptible teeth or cosmetic issues."