Adolescents are busy people with unpredictable eating habits and schedules. But they’re still very interested in how they look, so parents can encourage oral hygiene by reminding them that regular brushing and flossing will help them look better by promoting a healthy smile and fresh breath.
One important component of oral hygiene for many adolescents is learning how to floss with braces. Explain to your braces-wearing child that flossing will take quite a bit longer with braces, but that it is important for them to make the time and the effort in order to help prevent plaque buildup, which can lead to tartar, and keep their teeth healthy to enhance that smile once the braces come off.
Sometimes children start wearing braces prior to adolescence. If you have a younger child who wears braces, it may take longer for him or her to learn to floss, and parents may need to provide some help.
Two products that can help children and teens (or adults, for that matter) floss with braces are a floss threader or a special orthodontic floss, such as Oral-B® Super Floss®, which has stiff ends that can be threaded under the braces’ main wire.
To floss with braces, follow these basic steps:
Insert the stiff of the special orthodontic floss under the main wire on the braces
Follow the proper technique for flossing: Gently guide the floss between the teeth and slide it under the gum, curving it in a “C” shape to clean the tooth surface.
If your child or adolescent prefers to use a floss threader, he or she can use any type of floss. Place the floss through the threader, then slide the pointed end of the threader under the main wire of the braces and pull it through, so the floss is positioned under the wire. Then proceed with the proper flossing technique.