How To Floss With Permanent Retainer

Keeping your teeth straight can be a difficult process, they tend to move around your mouth throughout your life.

How To Floss With Permanent Retainer

However, for some people, it is a genetic fact that they’ll have slightly wonky teeth that can only be fixed by a permanent retainer.

When you have a retainer then it can be difficult to keep your mouth clean with floss. Very often the floss will get stuck in the gaps in your teeth or get snagged on the retainer.

However, there are specific techniques to stop this from happening.

So how can you clean your teeth effectively with a permanent retainer? What types of floss can you get that are specifically designed for a retainer?

How can you be sure that your floss won’t get trapped in your retainer? Well, if you want the answer to these questions and a lot more, then we would suggest that you keep reading.

What Is A Permanent Retainer?

This is a retainer that is permanently fixed to your teeth, usually using steel. This can be held in place for years and is tightened regularly to keep your teeth in a fixed position.

This is very different from a replaceable retainer that is usually taken out during the night and fixed in place during the day.

The fact that this brace is permanent will make it difficult to keep your teeth clean, as it effectively obscures a lot of the teeth from being cleaned regularly.

One of the biggest challenges of cleaning your teeth is the fact that plaque can actually build up under the retainer and ultimately erode the constitution of your teeth.

This will defeat the whole purpose of having a permanent retainer, as it will be designed to keep it clean.

So what kinds of floss is there available for you to keep your teeth clean in spite of a permanent retainer?

Floss For Permanent Retainers

One of the best methods of cleaning your teeth under a permanent retainer is to use floss threaders.

These threaders are hard bits of plastic, almost like needles, that you can manipulate to get under your retainer and in between the gaps in your teeth.

Once the floss is in place, you’ll be able to thread it in between your teeth, removing any of the plaque that can be causing you any issues.

You can also thread the plastic floss threader between the teeth, looping it around so that you can handle double the amount of teeth. This will be important if you are trying to get two areas at the same time.

You can also get something called ‘super floss’, which is floss that has already been cut to a specific length, with the ends made from bonded plastic that will make them more durable and less prone to cutting and wedging in between your teeth.

There are also tiny brushes that you can use to get in between the gaps in your retainer and are soft enough that they won’t further damage the enamel of your teeth.

These are called ‘tepes’ and they are made from plastic and rubber. You can purchase these from most stores.

If you have a retainer that is situated on the lower teeth and does not extend the full length of your jaw.

Then you’ll want to make sure that you avoid using super floss or a threader, as these teeth have a gap between them and the retainer.

In this case, you’ll be able to clean your teeth normally with regular floss.

How To Fully Clean Your Permanent Retainer

How To Floss With Permanent Retainer

As well as your teeth, you’ll need to clean your permanent retainer.

This is because your retainer will build up bacteria from your teeth as well as food matter. This bacteria will eventually release acid that will stain your teeth.

Here is a guide for cleaning your retainer to avoid bacteria:

  1. Take a piece of floss and create a loop in the end that is around 6 inches in length.
  2. Once you have done this, loop the floss around the lower incisor teeth at the front. Make sure that the two ends of the floss are hanging out on either side of your mouth.
  3. Taking the two ends, pull the floss down until the loop of floss that is behind the retainer breaks.
  4. Take the longer end of the floss and pull it until it slides out between the gap in your teeth.
  5. Take the loose shorter end of the floss and wrap it around your finger. You’ll be able to floss your teeth using the usual back and forth procedure, allowing you to clean the adjacent sides of your mouth.
  6. Next, you’ll need to move the floss loop onto the next gap in the next two teeth.
  7. You’ll need to then repeat this process until all of your teeth are cleaned.

You’ll need to make sure that this flossing procedure is done regularly to keep both your teeth and your retainer clean regularly. This will prevent the build-up of plaque and other bacteria.

Avoid swallowing the floss once the process is over by threading it out of the front of your mouth, rather than the back and into your mouth.

Other Techniques For Retainer Flossing

There are two other techniques that you can employ to make sure that your teeth are clean, even with a retainer:

  1. Behind the teeth: Go behind your teeth and pull the floss threader so that one end is behind the tooth and the other end is in front. Slide it back and forth the tooth, making sure that you are under the main wire of your retainer.
  2. Slide: This method uses a flossing threader to slide the floss underneath your retainer and then weave it back out. Make sure not to jab the gums with these threaders, as they could cause the gum to get inflamed.


We hope that our guide to flossing with a permanent retainer has helped you to decide which method is best for you and how you can avoid damaging your teeth in the long term.

Andrew Kemp
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