How to Floss Correctly with a Permanent Retainer

External link opens in new tab or windowDental hygiene is essential in improving your smile and boosting your confidence. While brushing your teeth and flossing are certainly a main part of your dental care routine, there is more to that, especially if you have permanent retainers. There are places a toothbrush can’t reach that require more than just normal flossing.

What Are Permanent Retainers?

A permanent retainer is a wire cemented in the bottom or top teeth from the inside that is normally installed after braces or Invisalign. It helps keep the teeth aligned after treatment. Although they are convenient and easy to maintain, they can accumulate tartar and plaque if you don’t clean them well. These tips will help you floss correctly with a permanent retainer:

Use Floss Threaders

Getting a floss underneath the retainer wire may be difficult. That’s why you need a floss threader (a small plastic needle designed for this purpose) to direct the floss beneath the retainer wire.


They make flossing easier because you can move the floss up and down to remove the dirt between the teeth. At first, it may be challenging to use the floss threaders, but it becomes easy and becomes second nature with a little practice. As you move the threader up and down, ensure it touches the sides of the teeth to remove any particles stuck in between.


If you ask, your dentist can instruct you on how to use these after they install your permanent retainer. You can purchase from drug stores, grocery stores, and anyplace that oral hygiene products are sold. They are inexpensive and reusable!

Use a Dental Pick

Sometimes, it can be difficult to fit the threader between the teeth; either the gap is small, or you find it too time-consuming and tedious. When this happens, a flossing pick can be a good alternative as you work towards fitting the thread through the gap.


However, you need to be aware that a dental pick cannot effectively substitute a floss threader, even though some are good at removing food particles between the teeth. Some dental picks come with small brushes, while others have floss. Whichever option you go for, flossing with a toothpick should not be among them.

Use a Water Flosser

If you want to remove buildup between your teeth without using floss, a water flosser would be an ideal option for you. It is also a good option for young kids who may struggle with a string threader. A water flosser uses a specialized technique to shoot a stream of pressurized water between your teeth. The water will effectively clean the spaces between your teeth and even remove plaque.


While there are many water flossers in the market, be sure to select one with theExternal link opens in new tab or window American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval for quality results.

Floss Daily

Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining dental hygiene. Flossing your teeth every day will help eliminate any food particles that may otherwise build up and provide a breeding ground for bacteria.

Bottom Line

Flossing with a permanent retainer is essential for clean and healthy teeth. While there are many options you can use, it is important to settle on what works best. Be sure toExternal link opens in new tab or window talk to a dentist in Fairbanks if you have problems with your permanent retainer or you are seeking other treatment options.