Tips for Flossing and Maintaining Your Oral Health While in Braces

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Amanda Orvis, RDH

Tips for Flossing and Maintaining Your Oral Health While in Braces

Flossing may seem like it is almost impossible when you are in braces. It can even seem intimidating. It is a fact that it takes longer to floss your teeth if you have traditional wired braces. Thankfully there are tools that can help take some of the hassle out of flossing around braces. Please read below for some suggestions.

Floss Threaders

These threaders are a great tool to help achieve getting your floss behind your wire and between your teeth. Simply grab a normal piece of floss and one threader. Thread the floss through the loop hole in the threader, the same way you would thread a needle. After you have threaded the floss threader, simply guide the threader behind your orthodontic wire and floss between your teeth. See picture below.

 

Super Floss

Super floss is a pre-threaded flosser. It consists of three parts. Part one is the stiffened needle-like end. Part two is the spongy floss. Part three is the regular floss. This one piece threaded floss is great for maneuvering around those orthodontic wires. The great thing about super floss is that you do not have to thread the floss at all; it is already done for you! The spongy part of the floss is great for those wider spaces between your teeth that you get while your teeth are moving and shifting while you are in braces. The traditional end of the floss is great for those tighter spaces. See picture below.

 

Proxabrushes

These small brushes are great for cleaning between the teeth and behind your orthodontic wires. Proxabrushes help to remove the plaque in those hard to reach areas which are commonly missed. To use these brushes, you simply guide the brush behind the wire and move the brush up and down cleaning any remaining plaque on the teeth after brushing.

 

Waterpik

Waterpiks, also known as water flossers, are great to use around orthodontic brackets and wires. They are easy and effective. You simply point the water flosser between your teeth along the gumline and let the water spray between the teeth. Water flossers help to remove plaque and food debris in those hard to reach areas.

 

*If you would like a demonstration on any of these products please ask your dentist or dental hygienist at your next dental visit.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://oralb.com/en-us/products/super-floss

http://www.gumbrand.com/between-teeth-cleaning/floss-threaders/gum-eez-thru-floss-threaders-840a.html

http://www.gumbrand.com/between-teeth-cleaning/interdental-brushes/gum-go-betweens-proxabrush-cleaners-tight-872rn.html

https://www.waterpik.com/oral-health/how-to-floss/

What type of Floss is right for you?

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Andra Mahoney BS RDH 

What type of floss is right for you?

Several months ago, Wendy wrote a great article on the necessity of flossing ( https://dentistrydonedifferently.com/2014/05/19/flossing-do-i-have-to/).  Now that you have accepted that flossing is an integral part of your oral health, let’s pick out the right floss for you! There are a plethora of different types of floss, so you are bound to find the one that fits your wants and needs.

Let’s first examine your basic floss: 

There are two main types of floss: String and Tape.

String is the most common type of floss, and what everyone thinks of when they think floss.

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String floss comes in nylon or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).  Nylon floss is the most common string floss.  It comes in all different types of flavors and thicknesses.  It even comes waxed and un-waxed. The wax is added to the floss to help fit through teeth with tight contacts.

PTFE floss is a lot like a plastic string. It is a monofilament, which means it’s not made from multiple fibers so it will not rip, shread, or tear.  PTFE floss is newer and people seem to like it because it is strong!  It also comes in many thicknesses and flavors, though it is not waxed because it is made to glide between teeth.  Because of its strength, I recommend not snapping the floss between your teeth.  It can very easily hurt the gum tissue if it is pulled too hard.

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Dental Tape is becoming more and more common nowadays. It is very similar to, but wider than, string floss.  Many people with sensitive gums like tape floss because they find it more comfortable when flossing below the gum line.  It is also a great “starter” floss because it is thinner than regular nylon floss.

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Advanced Types of Floss:

Spongy or Super Floss is ideal for cleaning braces, bridges, and wide gaps between teeth. Super Floss has three unique components—a stiffened-end dental floss threader, spongy floss, and regular floss—all work together for maximum benefits. It allows you to floss under appliances, cleans around appliances, between wide spaces, and removes plaque under the gumline.

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Floss Threaders come in two different types.  One looks like a large, thin, sewing needle. The plus side of this type of threader is that you can thread any type of floss and pull it through. It makes it easy to use whatever floss you have lying around the house. The down side is you have to thread the floss each time you use it.

floss threaders

CAN Eez Thru Floss Threaders Demo

A little bit easier is the floss threader that is kind of like a shoe string. It has a built in threader tip attached to the floss, so there is one less step than the other floss threader. Both threaders are great for any appliance: bridges, braces, lingual bars, etc.

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Other Options:

Floss Picks are great for flossing hard to reach spaces or when you’re on the go. You don’t have to be in a bathroom to floss! A few tips to remember, never reuse a floss pick. The plaque bacteria that is removed by the flosser isn’t always seen. You do not want that bacteria to be reintroduced into your mouth. Which brings us to tip two, use four flossers in one flossing session. One for the upper right, upper left, lower left, and lower right (each side is measured from the last molar to the midline between your front teeth). When using standard floss, you use about 18 inches. A flosser has about one inch of floss. You do not want to transfer the bacteria from one side of the mouth to the other. So after you have used one, toss it, and grab another. Flossers are very inexpensive and come in multipacks.

Floss pic

Powered Flossers are very useful for older people who find it hard to manipulate string floss into their mouth. A disposable tip is placed on the end of the powered flosser and when the button is depressed, the floss gently vibrates back and forth. Just place it between your teeth and floss away! As with the floss picks, please do not reuse the disposable ends of the flosser.

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Interproximal brushes are helpful to those who have wider spaces between their teeth. Two options are soft picks, which are like rubber toothpicks.

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And the other interdental brushes are like small pipe cleaners.

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 The difference between the two comes down to preference and how wide the space is between your teeth. Both options come in various sizes. These are also one time use items that come in a pack.

Extra Helpers:

Rubber Tip Simulators are not a type of floss, but they are handy in plaque removal. They are mainly used for cleaning under operculums. An operculum is a small flap of gum tissue. It is usually found in the back of the mouth by the last tooth. It can occur naturally or come about from a tooth that has not fully erupted into the mouth.

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 As seen in the picture, the right side is a normal tooth, and the left has an operculum. Plaque can get under this flap of tissue so it will need to be cleaned. Just take the rubber tip stimulated and swipe gently under the tissue.

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WaterPiks work wonderfully in addition to your floss!  Please remember, do not substitute waterpicks for brushing and flossing. Unlike flossing, waterpicks do not remove plaque. They are effective for people who have orthodontic braces, which may retain food in areas a toothbrush cannot reach, people who catch food between their teeth, or people who are looking for extra help with their gums.

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Brief Overview:

Large gaps between your teeth? Try dental tape or Super Floss.

Not much space between your teeth? You may find that a waxed floss is easier to slide into those tight spaces.

Want less mess? Look for disposable flossers or floss in pre-measured strands.

Braces or bridges? A spongy floss is a good option, but any floss can be used if you have a floss threader.

As you can see there are a lot of options out there! But do not fear! A study from the University of Buffalo stated, “Believe it or not, researchers have compared different types of dental floss to determine whether some are more effective than others to clean teeth. The bottom line is that they are not. Any type of floss will help promote clean teeth by removing food particles and bacteria.”

Just remember that when it comes to dental floss, flossing every day is the most important choice you and your family can make.

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(microscopic image of used dental floss)

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

 

Sources:
http://www.oralb.com/topics/all-floss-types-work-well-when-used-daily.aspx

http://www.oralb.com/topics/choosing-the-best-dental-floss-for-you.aspx

http://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/flossing3.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-p-connelly-dds/dental-floss_b_1643933.html

The Platypus Orthodontic Flosser

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Lora Cook RDH

“Help! I just got my braces on and it takes me 20 minutes to floss my teeth.”

I have heard this statement before from some of my patients.  Well I am here to tell you that your dental hygienist is here to the rescue.

I am sure that the orthodontist carefully demonstrated how to use floss threaders to thread the floss under the wire.

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Well I am here let you know about another alternative to threaders.  This orthodontic flossing device was invented my a hygienist trying to help her patients with the time consuming and frustrating chore of flossing under braces. It is called the platypus.

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The Platypus orthodontic flosser was co-invented by pediatric dental hygienist Laura Morgan and hygiene product developer Fred Van de Perre.

This device fits easily under arch wire and between brackets. Flossing daily will help gum tissue stay health and help to prevent tooth decay. Best of all it will only take you 2 minutes instead of 20!

How to use the Platypus orthodontic flosser.

*Insert spatula end of the flosser under your wire and press lightly against the teeth.

*Press spatula against your teeth to remove floss slack. Slide floss up between your teeth.

*In difficult to reach area, it is key to maintain pressure against your teeth while flossing.

*The bracket brush cleans around your brace brackets.

Where do I get these?

Amazon or  drugstore.com sells them.

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Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.drugstore.com/platypusco-orthodontic-flosser/qxp361704

http://www.drugstore.com/popups/largerphoto/default.asp?pid=361704&catid=183799&size=500&trx=29888&trxp1=361704&trxp2=1

http://drmodjeski.com/oralhygiene.html

http://audrey5942f.blogspot.com/2013/01/platypus-ortho-flosser-for-braces.html

http://www.scottsdental.com/product_images/w/972/346-T106__82881_zoom.jpg