How do I Floss with Braces?

Laura A.

Flossing teeth is particularly challenging for people who wear braces. Most people who wear braces find it easiest to floss their teeth with the help of a floss threader. This tool can be used to pull the floss past the metal archwire and closer to the gum line. Once the dental floss is in place, it is then a matter of flossing as usual. This extra step is well worth the effort because failing to floss with braces can result in a number of dental problems.

A dental floss threader is used to floss around braces.
A dental floss threader is used to floss around braces.

If you wear braces, it is important to take good care of your teeth. Any type of dental appliance creates more places for food to get stuck and cause tooth decay. Cleaning the braces and the areas surrounding them can be a bit tricky because there are so many places that need extra attention. The most complicated part of flossing with braces is reaching the space between the teeth at the gum line.

People with braces often use waxed floss rather than the unwaxed variety.
People with braces often use waxed floss rather than the unwaxed variety.

A floss threader is a very useful tool for anyone attempting to floss with braces. This device consists of a collapsible loop with a pointed end that helps feed the floss through the metal archwire of the braces. This enables you to position the floss between your teeth close to the gums so you can floss normally. Floss threaders can be found in most drugstores in the toothpaste aisle.

To use a floss threader, begin by tearing off a long piece of floss. Fold it over the looped end of the threader. Using the pointed end, pull the threader through the metal archwire so that the floss is in between the metal archband and your gum line. Slide the floss between your teeth and then pull it back and forth gently as you approach the gums. Be sure to also floss around the wire every time you floss with braces.

People who wear braces often find that waxed floss is easier to glide in between the teeth. Unwaxed floss has a tendency to shred easily when it is caught by the brackets of braces. Flosses with a stiff end can also make insertion much easier for those who floss with braces.

It is important to floss every day if you wear braces. Daily flossing helps to reduce the buildup of plaque which eventually hardens and forms tartar. Tartar is a breeding ground for bacteria that eventually cause gingivitis and periodontal disease. This can lead to bone damage and tooth loss. It may seem more difficult to floss with braces at first but with a bit of practice, the process will become much easier and faster.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


I think water flossing is definitely the way to go. It is painless and effective and, in my opinion, removes more food debris left behind by brushing, than normal flossing. It is good for children as well as it has different water pressure settings to suit each child’s age, and can clean behind braces and bridges as well. Definitely worth a try.

Post your comments
Forgot password?