How to Floss with Braces: Orthodontic Care Tips

March 1, 2024

If you are one of the millions who wear braces, you know that maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for a healthy smile. Brushing your teeth is a no-brainer, but flossing can be little challenging with braces. Here, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of how to floss with braces, offering practical tips and solutions to common challenges. By the end, you'll be equipped to tackle flossing confidently, ensuring a cleaner and healthier mouth.

How to Floss with Braces: Orthodontic Care Tips

Understanding the Importance of Flossing with Braces:

Flossing with braces is essential because it helps eradicate plaque and food particles from areas that cannot be reached by regular brushing alone. Without proper flossing, these trapped particles can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, or even some white spots visible on your teeth after the braces are removed. By incorporating flossing into your regular oral care routine, you safeguard your dental health, maintain fresh breath, and achieve that dazzling smile you’ve always wanted.

Step-by-Step Guide on How You Should Floss with Braces:

Flossing with braces requires a slightly different technique compared to traditional flossing. Follow these step-by-step instructions for effective flossing:

  1. Gather the Necessary Tools:

Before you begin flossing, make sure you have the following tools on hand:

  • Dental floss
  • Floss threader
  1. Begin by Thread a Floss Threader:

Take a piece of dental floss (around 18 inches long) and thread it through the loop of the floss threader.

  1. Insert the Floss Under the Archwire:

Carefully guide the floss threader under the archwire of your braces. Make sure the floss is positioned between two teeth.

  1. Floss Between the Teeth:

Holding both ends of the floss, gently work it up and down between the teeth, moving it in a “C” motion to reach the gumline. Be careful to not snap the floss onto your gums, which can irritate them.

  1. Repeat the Process for Each Tooth:

Move the floss to the next set of teeth, utilizing a new section of the floss if necessary. Make sure to floss both sides of each tooth, including the front and back surfaces.

  1. Rinse, Repeat, and Follow Up with Other Oral Hygiene Practices:

Once you finish flossing, rinse your mouth extensively with water or mouthwash to eliminate any leftover debris. Follow up with brushing your teeth and other oral hygiene practices recommended by your orthodontist or dentist.

Common Challenges of Flossing with Braces: Solutions and Tips:

Flossing with braces can present some challenges due to the brackets and wires. However, you can overcome these obstacles with the proper techniques and tools. Here are solutions and tips to address common flossing challenges:

  1. Dealing with Sensitive Gums:

If you experience gum sensitivity while flossing, try switching to a softer or waxed floss. Also, make sure to be gentle and avoid applying excessive pressure.

  1. Tackling Difficult Areas:

Certain areas around braces may be harder to floss, such as where the archwire meets the gumline. In these cases, an interdental or proxy brush can be a helpful alternative (discussed in the next section).

  1. Choosing the Right Flossing Products:

When choosing flossing products, opt for a floss threader, which helps thread the floss under the archwire. Additionally, waxed floss or floss designed explicitly for braces can make the process smoother and more comfortable.

Flossing Alternatives for Braces Wearers:

If traditional flossing proves to be too challenging or time-consuming, there are alternative tools that can effectively clean your teeth and braces:

  1. Water Flossers (Oral Irrigators):

Water flossers employ continuous water to eliminate plaque and debris stuck in the spaces between your teeth and around your braces. They prove especially beneficial for individuals with braces, as the water can access areas that may be challenging to reach with traditional flossing methods. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for optimal use.

  1. Interdental Brushes:

Interdental brushes resemble tiny bottle brushes designed to clean the spaces between teeth and around braces. They are handy for reaching areas that floss cannot easily access. Use them gently to avoid damaging brackets or wires.

  1. Proxy Brushes:

Proxy brushes, also known as “Christmas tree brushes” due to their shape, are small brushes with bristles that resemble a miniature Christmas tree. They work similarly to interdental brushes, effectively cleaning the gaps between teeth and braces. Use them carefully to avoid dislodging any components of your braces.

Maintaining Optimal Oral Hygiene with Braces:

  1. Brushing Your Teeth Effectively:

Brush your teeth daily, at least two times. Brush all areas, including brackets and wires. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and pay attention to each tooth’s front, back, and chewing surfaces. Also replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head regularly.

  1. Using Mouthwash:

After brushing and flossing, it is advisable to use an effective antibacterial mouthwash to eliminate bacteria and enhance your breath freshness effectively. Opt for a mouthwash that has received approval from orthodontists and is free from alcohol, as alcohol may lead to dry mouth and irritation.

  1. Regular Dental Check-ups:

Pay attention to your regular dental check-ups while wearing braces. Your dentist will keep a check on the health of your mouth, perform professional teeth cleaning, and make any required adjustments to your orthodontic treatment. These visits are essential for ensuring your teeth and gums remain healthy.

  1. Avoiding Problematic Foods:

Some foods have the potential to harm or become lodged in your braces, making it more challenging to maintain oral hygiene. Steer clear of hard, sticky, or chewy foods that could dislodge brackets or wires. Opt for softer options and cut fruits and vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

In addition to flossing, incorporating these practices into your daily routine will ensure optimal oral hygiene and help you achieve the best possible outcome during your braces treatment in Calgary:


Maintaining optimal oral hygiene while wearing braces is crucial for preserving dental health and achieving the best possible results. Flossing with braces can be tricky, but you can achieve it with the right tools and techniques. Remember to floss daily, follow the step-by-step guide, and explore alternative tools if necessary. Combine flossing with other essential oral care practices, such as brushing effectively, using mouthwash, attending regular dental check-ups, and being mindful of your diet. By taking these steps, you’ll reach a healthy, beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. Start flossing with braces today and witness the positive impact it brings on your overall dental well-being.

Please schedule your appointment today with our dentist in SW Calgary at Renew Dental Clinic to discuss proper oral hygiene with braces.

Click to listen highlighted text!