Flossing With a Retainer (3 QUICK FACTS)

Flossing and oral hygiene go together. While wearing a retainer can be a hard and cumbersome experience. All the places normally reachable without retainers blocking the way are now hard to find and harder to clean. If you go without a proper cleaning regime you end up with issues like tooth decay and gum disease. In this post, we’ll show you how to get around the difficulties of flossing with a retainer. Let’s get looking.




What is a Permanent Retainer

A permanent retainer is a device fitted after the completion of orthodontic treatment. Some people have a removable retainer but those who have undergone significant alterations or surgeries may be fitted with a permanent retainer.

A permanent retainer is a metal wire. Placed behind teeth and unnoticeable. It is designed to stay fit for life. This type of fitting means new difficulties in cleaning and especially flossing. This is the cause of oral health issues in many who have these devices.


How Often Should I Floss?

Floss once a day to keep your teeth clean and plaque-free. A daily habit of flossing will remove the harmful bacteria from in-between each tooth, preventing future damage or infection which can lead to gum disease if not removed regularly with brushing alone. Retainers are an excellent tool for trapping these food particles more often than normal.


Tools to Floss With a Permanent Retainer

You will need two specific tools to successfully manage oral health while wearing retainers.

You need these as normal theaders need one hand while wearing retainers, threading is a two-handed operation. Let’s look at those in more detail.

Flossing Threader

The flossing threader is a plastic device with an “L” shape curve at one end. The loop will house the thread just like a needle and thread you would use on clothing. You then push through the gaps of the thread meaning a full removal of detritus.

Flossing String

Flossing string is a robust, reusable dental floss that you can work between your teeth to remove food particles and plaque. Hold each end while they move up or around gums. This should be a slow operation to ensure the good removal of food debris.

How to Floss

Step 1.

Brush your teeth to make sure you are brushing properly and flossing all the tooth surfaces thoroughly every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes in bed at night or before leaving home in the morning because this will help prevent cavities from forming.

Step 2.

Place the flossing string through an open loop on your threader and glide it over top of the retainer. Do once with this tool, then move on to in-between movements.

Step 3.

Once you have both ends threaded, hold the floss with both hands and move it back and forth between the teeth.

Step 4.

Move on to the next tooth. To do this, remove the floss from between two teeth and go in order.


Further Retainer Care

Avoid Damaging Foods

You should avoid sticky foods like candy, chewing gum, and pastries if you have a permanent retainer because they can weaken the dental equipment that holds your teeth in place. While wearing one of these retainers is supposed to last for life, it could come loose or fall off if not cared for properly which will return to its original position.



Clean the retainer regularly. Take care of the retainer and will take care of you. The process of cleaning your teeth with retainers will be hard at first but a good regime will ensure a healthy mouth free of nasties.


Dental Visits

Dental visits are important during and after braces. A permanent retainer only holds your teeth in place. Regular cleaning and check-ups from dental professionals will help catch early signs of decay.




Corporate offices are detrimental to treatment. A good oral expert will know how to deal with any issue you may have. If you maintain good oral health techniques, it’s likely that your smile will become perfect.

Whether you want to get full orthodontic perfection or to address issues, we can advise you. Get in touch with our orthodontic office today to schedule your first appointment with Dr. McDermott.

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