We all know brushing and flossing are essential to excellent oral health. But there’s a lot more to learn about brushing and flossing than just “twice a day.” At Hodges Orthodontics, we know there’s a lot more to excellent oral hygiene than just running a toothbrush over your teeth fast once or twice a day. There are essential habits to remember, but if you practice them regularly, chances are you’ll have a great smile for a lifetime. So here are a few fast facts about brushing, flossing, and taking great care of your teeth.
Fact: You Should Actually Floss First!
You’ve probably gone most of your life believing that you brush first, then floss. You may have been taught that at a very early age. Unfortunately, what you were taught was the opposite of what you should do.
You should floss first, brush second, and brush for at least two minutes.
Yep, you read that right. Floss first, then brush. Why? Because flossing loosens particles between the teeth that can then be removed by brushing. Otherwise, those particles stick around the teeth and can end up right back between them or just coating the enamel. That can lead to plaque buildup, which can lead to tooth decay.
Flossing also clears a space between the teeth for your fluoride rinse or mouthwash, assuming you use either. The fluoride will reach areas of the tooth vulnerable to decay because a toothbrush doesn’t clean them well.
Fact: Flossing Daily Protects Your Gums, Too!
Flossing doesn’t just clean the sides of the teeth; it also cleans the gums between the teeth. Food particles left on the gums can get between the gums and teeth and irritate them. That can make your gums turn red, swell, and even bleed. Ouch!
Plaque and food particles left on the gums can eventually lead to gum disease. That means you could end up with loose teeth or even lose your teeth because of your unhealthy gums. So flossing helps your gums as much as your teeth!
Fact: Rinsing, Eating, or Drinking Right Away Removes Fluoride
Do you rinse your mouth with water several times after flossing and brushing your teeth? Do you eat or drink right away after flossing, brushing, or using mouthwash? If so, chances are you’re making your teeth more vulnerable.
Fluoride is great for protecting enamel, the hard outer shell of your teeth. But it works by chemically reacting with your saliva, and that takes time to happen. So if you rinse your mouth or eat or drink after using mouthwash, you’re removing the fluoride before it has time to work correctly.
If you must rinse, use the least amount of water possible. After brushing or using mouthwash, wait at least half an hour before eating or drinking anything. That will give the fluoride time to bond with your teeth, which will make them stronger and more protected from tooth decay.
Fact: You Should See a Dentist At Least Twice a Year
The American Dental Association recommends visiting your dentist at least once every six months, even if you’re also seeing an orthodontist. The fact is, your dentist will be able to clean your teeth properly, even with your braces. That cleaning is necessary to keep your teeth strong and healthy when you finally have your braces removed and see that beautiful new smile.
If you suspect you may have problems with your teeth or gums during treatment, call Hodges Orthodontics, and we can get you in for a checkup. We can also recommend a good time to see your dentist again.
Fact: We Can Teach You How to Floss and Brush With Braces
It can be tricky to brush and floss with braces! How are you supposed to get floss around all those wires and brackets? Rest assured, it’s possible, and we can show you how to do it.
It won’t take long before you’ll become an expert at flossing and brushing with braces. But if you ever have questions or concerns about it, just ask! We’re always here to help!
Beautiful Smiles, Personalized Care
At Hodges Orthodontics, we are always here to answer your questions, whether it’s about brushing, flossing, gum care, or any other oral health topics. We want you to feel good about your oral health and great about your smile. You can count on us to provide a comfortable, relaxing environment every visit.
If you’re in the Tupelo, MS, or Pontotoc, MS, areas, start with a virtual consultation or give us a call. We’re ready to put you on the path to a beautiful, lifelong smile!