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It is estimated that at least 50-70 percent of children ages 6-18 will have braces at some point throughout his or her life. Since flossing with braces can be so difficult, many people think that you don’t need to floss while you’re wearing your braces, but this notion is false. Flossing daily is especially important when you have braces. Here are some tips that will make flossing with braces a little less frustrating and a little more doable:

1. Use braces-sensitive floss – Waxed floss, or any floss designed specifically for flossing with braces, won’t shred like regular floss will as you try to weave in and out of the wire. Make sure you use enough floss – about 18 inches should be plenty – so that you have lots of slack to work with.

2. Take Your Time – Plan three times longer to floss with braces than you’d spend flossing without braces. You may ask yourself, is it worth it? The answer to your question is YES! It is definitely worth it to take the extra time to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth during your time in braces. If you don’t properly care for your teeth while wearing your braces, you may be left with white squares on your teeth, outlining where the braces were and where plaque built up and discolored your teeth.

3. Move gently – Weave the floss underneath the wire before placing in between two teeth, making sure you don’t snap the floss in and out of the crevices. Moving it up and down gently against the side of each tooth will get the job done without potentially damaging the teeth and gums.