The ADA offers these how to floss tips:
- Wind half of about 18 inches of floss around one of your middle fingers and the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand.
- Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers. Use a gentle rubbing motion to guide the floss between your teeth. Wind a bit of the floss up with one hand as it becomes dirty.
- When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it against one tooth and slide it gently into the space between the gum and the tooth.
- Rub the side of the tooth, gently but firmly, moving the floss with up and down motions. Repeat this method on all of your teeth.
- If you or your child has braces, try tiny disposable brushes called proxy brushes – they reach between teeth and are especially helpful in removing food from braces. Water flossers clean between teeth, too, and are another good option for cleaning teeth with braces.
The AAO has additional suggestions about how to floss with braces. If flossing is difficult, a reusable floss threader can help — the device is designed to make it easier to pull floss under braces archwire (a thin metal wire that runs from bracket to bracket and puts pressure on the teeth). Electric toothbrushes with orthodontic heads are also a good option for cleaning around braces, according to the AAO.
If you notice any loose or broken brackets — the rectangular part of braces attached to the tooth with a wire slot where the wire goes through — when you floss or brush your teeth, the AAO advises contacting your orthodontist right away.
April 08, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN