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How to Floss Correctly If You Wear Braces

We’ve all heard how important it is for us to floss daily, but many people find themselves skipping this important task. Especially those who wear braces. Though it might seem like a chore, flossing is super important while wearing braces because bacteria can so easily get lodged in odd places.

If you are getting your teeth cleaned every six months as is recommended, then just imagine how many different meals and snacks you eat in a six-month period. Many of us eat two or three times per day, snacking on nuts, chips, or fruit between meals. Though regular brushing will remove most of that food, minute particles can get lodged in hard-to-reach areas. This is especially true if you wear braces.

A recent survey found that only about half of Americans floss daily, and 10% never floss. Regular flossing prevents periodontal disease and tooth loss but dentists report hearing all kinds of excuses for not flossing.

Choosing your Floss

Most commercial floss sold in stores will do a decent job for you. The only real problem that people run into is whenever teeth are especially close together. In this case, you might be better served by choosing a thin, lightweight floss. Your orthodontist might recommend a brand that is especially good for those with braces. Break off an 18-inch length of floss and wind each end around your middle fingers, grasping one to 2 inches of the floss with your index finger and thumb.

The Technique

Gently glide the floss between your teeth and avoid snapping it, as this can cause damage to gum tissue.  Angle the floss in such a way that it hugs each tooth in a “C” shape. Get in the habit of working in a clockwise direction, beginning in a different quadrant of your mouth each time you floss. As you move from tooth to tooth, release a tiny bit more of the floss so that you are using a fresh piece on each tooth. After flossing, brush your teeth well and then rinse with a good mouthwash.

If you are not used to regular flossing, then it will seem awkward at first, but with practice it will become much easier. In fact, people who floss regularly often say that they can’t go very long without flossing. Otherwise, their teeth just don’t feel clean. Develop this good habit and you will keep your original teeth much longer and avoid gum disease.

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