Using water picks for braces: 5 facts to know

Let’s face it — flossing can be a challenge with braces. How do you get the floss around all those wires and brackets? Some patients have found a solution: water flossers.

But do water flossers really do the job? Is it worth getting a water flosser to keep your braces clean? Does a water flosser work for permanent retainers?

At Hodges Orthodontics, we know brushing and flossing can be different with braces. We’re happy to show our patients in the Tupelo, MS, area how to brush and floss better with braces.

Many of us have asked about using Waterpik with braces, a popular brand of water flosser for braces. Does it work? Here’s what you need to know!

What is a water flosser?

What is a water flosser? It’s a device that shoots a very thin, steady stream of water into your mouth. The idea is to shoot the water between your teeth to remove food particles and plaque, so you can then brush them away. They offer different pressure settings, too!

People often refer to a water flosser as a Waterpik, which is actually a top brand of water flossers. There are others available, though. Water flossers can be found at most major retailers.

Can I use a water flosser with braces?

Yes, you can absolutely use water flossers with braces! Water flossing for braces is a good idea because the water may be able to reach areas around brackets or underneath wires that your toothbrush can’t.

Water flossers are also good if your gums are a bit irritated at the moment. The water may be a bit more gentle on your gums. The water can also massage your gums and stimulate healing. You definitely want to make sure to floss along the gum line and even slightly below it if you can.

The last thing you want is food particles getting between your gums and your teeth. That can lead to gum irritation and even infection. Water flossers can help dislodge such food particles.

Water flossers are also great with permanent retainers, which are bonded to the back of your front teeth. It can be difficult to floss with permanent retainers, but water flossers can make it much easier and can reduce the plaque buildup around the retainer wire and the bonded ends.

How often should you use a water flosser with braces?

You’ll need to use a water flosser with your braces at least once a day, just like with dental floss. It might be better to use your water flosser in between traditional flossing to keep your teeth extra clean.

You can use your water flosser each time you brush if you prefer. Just don’t use it too often. It may irritate your gums if used too many times a day.

Is a water flosser better for braces?

While a water flosser or Waterpik is great for braces, it can’t take the place of dental floss. Unlike water flossers, dental floss has a scrubbing ability to remove all of the plaque from between the teeth. Even the best water flosser may leave a thin film of plaque between the teeth. Over time, this plaque can build up and lead to tooth decay.

We recommend using regular dental floss at least once a day before you brush your teeth with a manual or electric toothbrush. After that, a water flosser is a great tool to keep the area between your teeth clean until it’s time to use dental floss again.

Is there a better way to floss with braces?

As we said, we know flossing can be a bit tricky with braces, but we have ways to get around all those wires and brackets. The easiest way is to use a floss threader. This little, thin piece of plastic is shaped like a sewing needle with a giant eye which makes threading the floss so much easier.

You can thread the dental floss through the eye, then slide the floss threader under your archwire and between your teeth. The floss threader will carry the piece of floss between your teeth. You then floss like normal.

It takes a bit more time to use a floss threader, but it’s worth it! You’ll get clean teeth and gums, a great dental checkup, and a lot less worry when it comes to tooth decay and gum disease.

Braces treatment in Tupelo, MS

Schedule a free consultation if you’re in the Tupelo, MS, area to find out more about braces treatment with Hodges Orthodontics. Not only will we give you exceptional, friendly treatment, but we’ll guide you along the way.

We’ll show you the best ways to brush and floss with braces. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about your new bracesclear braces, or Invisalign® treatment. Hodges Orthodontics is here for you!