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Last Updated on February 26, 2023

How To Floss With Permanent Retainer


Taking care of your teeth and being mindful of flossing every day is extremely important for the health of your teeth. It’s just as important with permanent retainers.

A permanent retainer is a little thin wire that’s cemented to the tongue side of your bottom teeth on the front row. They’ll sometimes be on the top side as well. Hopefully, your dentist has told you that the best option for flossing with a permanent retainer is to use a floss threader.

Types of Permanent Retainers

There are actually two different types of permanent retainers. The first type has already been mentioned, a thin wire that’s cemented to your teeth. It’s flexible and quite small.

The 2nd type is a much more stiff wire. Instead of being attached to each tooth, it’s laid across and attached to the last tooth on each end. The stiffness offers support to all the teeth it crosses.

Your flossing technique will differ depending on which type you’ve got.

How to Floss a Permanent Retainer Using Floss Threaders

The first thing you need to do when you’re flossing with a permanent retainer is to get underneath the wire. The easiest way to do this is by using a floss threader. If you’re coming off braces, you’ll likely remember using these.

You can buy these online or at any drug store. You can probably also get some from your dentist.

  • First, pass your floss through the threader
  • Pass the stiff end of your threader between your teeth and under the wire
  • Continue until the floss has passed entirely through beneath the retainer wire
  • Once you’ve got the floss beneath the wire, you can floss like normal

If you’ve got the first type of permanent retainer, you’ll need to repeat this process with each gap between your teeth. If you’ve got the 2nd type, you only need to pass the floss beneath the wire once. You can floss as normal without having to rethread.

The best thing about floss threaders is they’re so inexpensive and easy to find. Not only that, but they’re extremely easy to use. It’ll just take a bit of practice, but once you’ve got it, the flossing time shouldn’t be much longer than 30-60 seconds each day. Once you’ve got it into your routine, you won’t even notice the time it takes.

How to Floss a Permanent Retainer Using Superfloss

Superfloss is basically a piece of floss with a stiff end. It works similarly to a floss threader, only you get to skip the “threading the needle” part. All you need to do is take the stiff end, slip it beneath your retainer and floss away. It’s not hard to get the hang of, and once you do, you’ll be back down to your regular pre-retainer flossing speed. You could even manage it in about 30 seconds.

However, the downside of Superfloss is that it’s a one-time-only product. You floss, then you’re done, and you’ve got to throw it out. Reusing Superfloss can expose you to the buildup of harmful bacteria, which could lead to some pretty serious gum infections down the line if you’re not careful about it.

How to Floss a Permanent Retainer Using a Waterpik

A Waterpik is very likely the most popular brand of water flosser.

A water flosser is an oral hygiene device that flosses through and around your teeth using a powerful stream of water. If you find that flossing with regular floss is too difficult to get used to, you have trouble using your hands for more dexterous tasks, or it’s taking up too much time, then a water flosser could be a good choice for you. It’s especially helpful for younger children who haven’t quite figured out string floss yet.

You can find these handy little machines at any drug store or online. They’re quick and easy, and you can floss around your retainer and all your teeth in seconds. The biggest downside of this method over the other two mentioned is the price tag. A water flosser will set you back anywhere from 30-70$.

Waterpiks aren’t convenient to travel with, and it’ll be a process to pack them up so you can take them with you when you travel away from home.

What is a Permanent Retainer?

As stated above, a permanent retainer is a little wire that’s cemented to the tongue side of either your bottom or top row of front teeth. They’re more convenient than a regular retainer because they can’t be lost, nor can you forget to wear them.

However, with that convenience comes a sacrifice – they’re a bit more high maintenance to care for and keep clean. If you don’t keep on top of your oral hygiene, a permanent retainer can build up massive amounts of plaque and tartar, leading you down a road of cavities and gum disease. They’re a commitment.

In Conclusion

Since you’re gonna be stuck with this retainer for quite a long time, it definitely makes sense to find the flossing technique that works the best for you. If it’s an annoying process, it’ll be really hard to stick to and merge it into your daily routine – which is exactly what you want.

Whether you choose a floss threader, Superfloss, or a Waterpik to floss your permanent retainer, it’s of utmost importance that you do it regularly and consistently. You’re doing yourself — and the overall health of your body — a favor by keeping your teeth clean and your mouth healthy. The mouth is the first stop for bacteria, and the more diseased your mouth and gums are, the more likely infection will spread to your jaw, your ears, and even further with enough time.

Healthy teeth mean a healthy body.


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