The usual method of flossing is typically with dental string floss but this can prove to be more difficult when you have braces. It takes much longer than the normal flossing time as there are the brace wires and brackets you have to get around. The floss can get caught and shred no matter how good your flossing technique is. There’s an easier way and that’s by using a water flosser with braces.
Is a Water Flosser Good For Braces?
Flossing braces with a water flosser is a lot more effective than regular dental string floss in removing plaque, bacteria and food debris. It uses a gentle jet of water to flush out the debris in your gums, teeth and braces no matter how big or small they are. This has been shown in clinical studies with results such as:
- Water flossing is 50% more effective than string dental floss.
- Gingivitis is effectively reduced by up to 51%.
- It’s 2X better than dental floss at decreasing the amount of gums bleeding.
- The capability of removing plaque is 29% better.
Brace wearers are at more risk of gum disease, decalcification (white spots on teeth) and overgrown gums due to the quicker build up of plaque from food stuck in the braces. It can cause gum pockets to enlarge over time and normal string floss can’t get into these deep gum pockets whereas a water flosser can.
It probably sounds worrying to use a water flosser in big gum pockets but in fact, it’s very safe. Historical clinical studies have shown that continued use of a water flosser can lead to a significant reduction in pocket depths.
If you’re also concerned with using it on inflamed gums which often occurs every time braces are tightened, there’s no need to be as studies have shown a water flosser can reduce inflammation without causing any damage.
Although there aren’t as many water flossers on the market, Waterpik is one of the leading brands for this and clinical research shows that they are 3X more effective than string dental floss for brace wearers. Compared to other powered flossers such as the Sonicare Air Floss, it’s even been clinically proven that the Waterpik water flosser is 50% more effective.
Watch the above video to see how a water flosser removes dental plaque from teeth with braces.
Steps For Water Flossing With Braces
There are many tips that can be used with a Waterpik. To get excellent results, the best Waterpik tip for braces is the Orthodontic Tip.
Follow our simple guide on how to use a water flosser with braces in 6 easy steps.
- Fill the water tank. Use lukewarm water to soothe and soften gums to make it easier to dislodge food particles, plaque and bacteria. To give your gums extra protection from germs, half fill the tank with fluoride mouthwash.
- Insert the flosser tip. Choose the flosser tip (preferably the Orthodontic Tip) and firmly attach it to the handle.
- Start with a low pressure. Adjust the pressure control so that you are starting off low first and gradually increase this until you are comfortable with the pressure level. Starting low is best as your gums aren’t suddenly hit with a strong pressure which can cause discomfort for some.
- Use over the sink. Leaning over the sink, place the tip in your mouth, close your mouth and turn the water flosser on. Doing this over the sink will prevent water from spilling onto your clothes and floor which will happen as the water needs to trickle out of your mouth during flossing. This is usually the case when you use a water flosser for braces.
- Start at the back of the teeth. It’s best to start at the back of your teeth as debris pushes forward from the stream of water from the flosser. From your gumline at the back of your teeth, move the tip along each tooth. Whilst flossing one tooth, move the water flosser to the bracket and gently brush it as well as the teeth surface surrounding it. Carry on for each tooth until you’re finished.
- Turn the water flosser off. Once you’re done, turn the unit off before taking the water flosser out. Your teeth, gums and braces should feel super clean now!
Best Practice For Water Flossing With Braces
Many people with braces do tend to get lazy in flossing. So that’s why more dentists and hygienists are now suggesting it’s best to use a Waterpik water flosser for braces. It’s so straightforward to use that there isn’t any excuse not to.
When you use a water flosser for braces, it greatly reduces the amount of time spent on flossing. It can take less than 3 minutes to floss your entire mouth even when you use the brush on the Orthodontic Tip to brush the braces as well. Once you get the hang of it, it can even take just 1 minute!
No matter how good the water flosser is, it should never be skipped in your daily oral care routine. You should aim to do this at least once a day, most preferably at the end of the day to remove everything that’s been built up. Some other tips you could follow when using a water flosser is:
- Thoroughly clean the tip and remove from the handle to allow it to dry properly. This helps to remove bacteria and prevent it from growing on a damp tip.
- Replace the tip after 3 months. The same as you would do for a toothbrush. Once the tip starts to wear, it becomes less effective in removing plaque due to wear and tear.
- Always clean the water tank after use. This is to prevent bacteria from building up and thriving in the tank.
By following our guide on how to use a water flosser with braces, you will see some excellent results within a couple of weeks. From then on, it will become easier to maintain and keep your braces clean.