Flossing is especially important when you wear braces, but it can be difficult. The traditional approach to string flossing won’t work because the arch wire blocks access to the areas between teeth and near the gumline—where plaque builds up most. To clean around braces, using a dental floss threader can help.
Flossing with Braces
Shaped like a big sewing needle, disposable floss threaders are available with small and large loops, or curved handles. Choose the one you like best.
The type of floss you choose matters more. Waxed floss is better for flossing with braces because it slides easily between teeth. It also won’t snag as easily on braces brackets and hardware the way unwaxed floss, dental tape, or thick specialty flosses can.
Steps to Using a Floss Threader with Braces
Start with a disposable floss threader and about 18 inches of floss. Then, follow these steps:
Gently feed one end of the floss threader behind the arch wire of your braces until the loop is positioned halfway under the wire.
Thread about 4 inches of floss through the arched half of the open loop.
Pull the floss threader though slowly, dragging the floss with it.
Slip the floss threader off, leaving the floss behind.
Grip the floss between your forefingers and thumbs, creating a 3-inch taut section of floss (wrap the floss around your fingers for more control).
Slide the floss up and down against the edges of your teeth to remove plaque.
Pull the floss out gently, being careful not to tug on wires or brackets.
Repeat for remaining teeth.
A Faster, Easier Way to Floss with Braces
If string flossing with a threader is too difficult and keeps you from flossing daily, Water Flossing may be right for you. All Waterpik® Water Flossers hold the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, and they’re clinically proven to remove three times more plaque around braces than string flossing. It’s the faster, easier, more effective way to floss with braces!