Encouraging kids to floss even is a challenge for most parents, but it becomes even more challenging when children have braces. The wires in braces prevent you from flossing traditionally, and it’s very difficult to do on your own. Orthodontic care is an important part of maintaining a healthy smile, but it takes commitment from parents and guardians to make sure teeth stay healthy while they’re being straightened.
Here are three tricks to make it easier for a child wearing braces to floss regularly:
Using floss on teeth with braces is difficult and frustrating. Sliding the floss between the teeth above the wire is a bit like threading a needle. An orthodontic floss threader is an inexpensive and disposable tool available in nearly any store that sells toothbrushes and toothpaste. It is indispensable when flossing teeth with braces because it allows you to pull the floss through the teeth above the wire and reach the gum line.
Do not expect younger children with braces to have the dexterity required to floss successfully. You most likely will need to help your child floss. It’s best to have him kneel or sit in a well-lit area, as it can take a long time. If your child has a difficult time sitting still, have him sit where he can watch a favorite show or listen to music while you floss.
Non-wax floss is more likely to catch on braces and leave behind shreds of floss. When flossing with braces, it is best to use waxed floss with a floss threader, which will slip between each tooth without catching more easily. Gently slide the floss up into the gum line of both teeth before removing the floss and threader and going to the next tooth.
While dental care is important for all kids, children with braces should be especially encouraged to take care of their teeth. Guardians and parents should play an active role in ensuring proper dental care. Flossing with braces will take your child about twice as long as flossing teeth without braces, but it must done regularly to prevent gingivitis and plaque buildup.
*This is an abridged version of an article from Colgate
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