Fowler Orthodontics

How To Floss With Braces

Taking care of your oral health is essential, especially when you’re on an orthodontic journey with braces. At Fowler Orthodontics, we understand the importance of maintaining a healthy smile throughout your treatment. One crucial aspect of oral hygiene while wearing braces is knowing how to floss effectively.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to floss with braces, ensuring that you can maintain optimal dental health and keep your smile shining throughout your orthodontic treatment. We’re committed to providing you with expert advice and tips, so you’ll feel confident in taking care of your braces and your oral health. Let’s get started on the path to effective flossing with braces.

Understanding Orthodontic Challenges

Before delving into the specifics of how to floss with braces, it’s essential to understand some of the unique challenges posed by orthodontic treatment. Braces are incredibly effective at straightening teeth and improving your smile, but they also introduce new factors to consider when it comes to oral hygiene.

Brackets and Wires

The components of braces, including brackets and wires, create numerous nooks and crannies where food particles and plaque can easily get trapped. If not properly cleaned, these areas can become breeding grounds for bacteria and lead to dental issues like cavities and gum disease.


Many people experience increased dental sensitivity during orthodontic treatment. This can make brushing and flossing a bit more challenging, as you need to be gentle to avoid discomfort.

Gingival Health

Keeping your gums healthy is crucial during orthodontic treatment. Braces can sometimes cause minor gum irritation or inflammation, making proper flossing techniques even more critical.

Patient Compliance

Successfully navigating orthodontic treatment also depends on patient compliance. Following your orthodontist’s instructions for oral hygiene, including flossing, is essential to achieve the best possible results.

With these challenges in mind, let’s explore how you can overcome them and maintain excellent oral hygiene by mastering the art of flossing with braces.

Tools and Supplies

To effectively floss with braces, you’ll need the right tools and supplies. Here’s what you’ll need:

Waxed Dental Floss

Traditional waxed dental floss is an excellent choice for braces. The wax coating helps the floss slide more easily between wires and brackets, reducing the risk of shredding or getting stuck.

Floss Threader

A floss threader is a small, flexible tool designed to help you navigate the floss around your braces. It has a stiff end that allows you to thread the floss underneath the wires easily.

Orthodontic Floss Picks

Orthodontic floss picks are specifically designed for braces. They have a thin, pointed end that can be inserted between your wires and brackets, making it easier to reach tight spaces.

Interdental Brushes

These tiny brushes are helpful for cleaning between brackets and wires. They come in various sizes, so choose one that fits comfortably between your teeth and braces.

Orthodontic Wax

Orthodontic wax can be used to alleviate any discomfort or irritation caused by wires, brackets, or sharp edges. It’s a handy addition to your braces care kit.


A small dental mirror can be useful for getting a better view of the areas you’re flossing, especially the back of your mouth.

Good Lighting

Proper lighting is essential to ensure you can see what you’re doing. Use a well-lit bathroom or consider using a portable LED light.

Having these tools and supplies on hand will make the flossing process more manageable and effective. Your orthodontist may also provide you with some of these items during your treatment.

Step-by-Step Flossing Guide

Now that you have the necessary tools and supplies, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of flossing with braces. Follow these instructions for effective flossing:

Prepare Your Floss

Cut a piece of waxed dental floss to about 18 inches (45 cm) in length. This length should give you enough floss to work with but won’t be too long to manage.

Thread the Floss

Take a floss threader and insert the stiff end under the wire of your braces, pulling it through so that you have a loop of floss hanging below the wire.

Begin Flossing

Hold the looped end of the floss with one hand and gently guide it between two teeth, using a back-and-forth motion. Be careful not to snap the floss, as this can cause discomfort or damage your braces.

Slide Between Teeth

Once the floss is between your teeth, slide it up and down against the side of each tooth. Pay extra attention to the area just below the gumline.

Work Around Brackets

As you move along, navigate the floss around each bracket by sliding it under the wire and then between the next set of teeth.

Use Orthodontic Picks

For additional cleaning, consider using orthodontic floss picks to reach tricky spots. These picks are designed to fit between wires and brackets with ease.

Interdental Brushes

Use interdental brushes to clean between brackets and wires, especially in areas where flossing may be challenging.

Orthodontic Wax

If you experience any discomfort or irritation from your braces during flossing, apply a small amount of orthodontic wax to smooth out rough edges.

Repeat for Each Tooth

Continue this process for each tooth, moving systematically around your mouth. Be patient and thorough, ensuring you clean all surfaces.

Rinse and Inspect

After flossing, rinse your mouth with water to remove any debris. Use a dental mirror to inspect your teeth and braces, ensuring you haven’t missed any spots.

Regular Maintenance

Remember to floss daily as part of your oral hygiene routine. Consistency is key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums while wearing braces.

By following these steps and using the right tools, you can effectively floss with braces, keeping your smile healthy and free from plaque and food particles. Don’t hesitate to ask your orthodontist for guidance or additional tips during your appointments.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While flossing with braces is essential for maintaining oral health, it’s equally important to avoid common mistakes that can lead to discomfort or damage to your braces. Here are some errors to watch out for:

Not Using a Floss Threader

Attempting to floss between your teeth and under the wires without a floss threader can be challenging and less effective. Always use a threader to make the process smoother.

Using Regular Floss

Standard dental floss without a threader is too thick to navigate between braces and wires effectively. Stick to orthodontic waxed floss, which is specifically designed for braces.

Flossing Too Roughly

While it’s crucial to clean thoroughly, avoid aggressive flossing that can damage your gums or the delicate tissues inside your mouth.

Skipping Flossing

Consistency is key to successful flossing. Skipping flossing sessions can lead to the accumulation of plaque and food particles, increasing the risk of cavities and gum issues.

Neglecting the Gumline

Pay close attention to flossing just below the gumline, where plaque buildup can occur. Properly cleaning this area is essential for gum health.

Not Seeking Guidance

If you’re unsure about the correct flossing technique or are experiencing discomfort, consult with your orthodontist or dental professional. They can provide personalized guidance and recommend tools that work best for your specific needs.

Ignoring Interdental Brushes

Interdental brushes can be highly effective for cleaning around brackets and wires. Don’t overlook them as a valuable addition to your oral care routine.

Being Inconsistent

Establish a daily flossing routine and stick to it. Inconsistency can lead to oral hygiene issues and potentially extend the time you need to wear braces.

Skipping Dental Checkups

Regular orthodontic and dental checkups are essential for monitoring your progress and ensuring that your braces are in good condition. Skipping appointments can hinder your orthodontic journey.

Using Excessive Force

Flossing with braces requires gentle but thorough movements. Avoid using excessive force, which can lead to discomfort or damage to your braces.

Remember that flossing is a crucial part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums during orthodontic treatment. By avoiding these common mistakes and following the correct techniques, you can ensure that your braces stay effective, and your smile remains in excellent condition. If you have any questions or concerns about flossing with braces, don’t hesitate to consult with your orthodontist for guidance.

Expert Advice from Fowler Orthodontics

At Fowler Orthodontics, we understand the importance of proper oral hygiene during your orthodontic journey. Flossing with braces can be challenging, but with the right guidance and techniques, you can maintain a healthy and beautiful smile. Here are some expert tips from our team:

Start Early

Begin flossing with braces as soon as they are placed. Establishing good oral hygiene habits from the beginning will make the process more manageable.

Use the Right Tools

Invest in quality orthodontic waxed floss and a floss threader. These tools are designed to navigate around braces and wires effectively.

Take Your Time

Flossing with braces may take a little longer than your previous routine, but it’s worth the effort. Be patient and thorough to ensure all surfaces are clean.

Floss Daily

Consistency is key. Make flossing a part of your daily routine, ideally after each meal, to prevent plaque buildup and maintain healthy gums.

Gentle Yet Thorough

Use gentle, back-and-forth motions to clean between your teeth and around your braces. Avoid aggressive flossing that could cause discomfort or damage.

Pay Attention to Gumline

Plaque can accumulate at the gumline, so make sure to clean this area thoroughly to prevent gum problems.

Interdental Brushes

Consider using interdental brushes alongside floss to clean between brackets and wires effectively.

Regular Dental Checkups

Schedule regular checkups with your orthodontist and dentist. They will monitor your progress, address any concerns, and ensure your braces are in good condition.

Consult with Us

If you encounter challenges or have questions about flossing with braces, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We are here to provide guidance, demonstrate techniques, and recommend personalized solutions.

Stay Committed

Remember that your commitment to proper oral hygiene will contribute to the success of your orthodontic treatment. A healthy smile is the ultimate goal, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Fowler Orthodontics is dedicated to helping you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. By following these expert tips and maintaining a diligent flossing routine, you can keep your braces clean and your oral health in top shape. If you have any questions or need assistance with your orthodontic care, please don’t hesitate to contact our experienced team. Your journey to a confident smile is our priority.


Flossing with braces may require a bit more time and effort, but the benefits of maintaining good oral hygiene during your orthodontic journey are well worth it. By following the step-by-step flossing guide and expert advice from Fowler Orthodontics, you can keep your braces clean and your smile healthy.

Remember that consistency is key. Make flossing a daily habit, ideally after each meal, to prevent plaque buildup, gum problems, and potential delays in your orthodontic treatment. Using the right tools, taking your time, and paying attention to detail will ensure that you effectively clean between your teeth and around your braces.

At Fowler Orthodontics, we are committed to providing you with the guidance and support you need to achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. If you have any questions, encounter challenges, or need personalized advice on flossing with braces, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced team. Your journey to a confident and healthy smile is our top priority.

Keep up with your flossing routine, attend regular checkups with your orthodontist and dentist, and stay committed to your orthodontic care. With the right approach, you can navigate your orthodontic treatment successfully and look forward to the day when those braces come off, revealing the beautiful smile you’ve worked hard to achieve.