Do you need to floss or not?

YOU’VE BEEN HEARING a lot about flossing in the news these days. Recent articles stating that flossing doesn’t do any good for your oral health have left many patients feeling shocked and confused. As your trusted orthodontist, we’re here to set the record straight!
It all started with an article by the Associated Press stating that the benefits of flossing have been unproven. Unfortunately, haters of flossing were quick to take up their torches and pitchforks against the practice. In response to the Associated Press article, the American Dental Association released a statement saying that flossing is “an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums.” And we’re going to tell you why.

Here’s Why You Should Continue Flossing

Flossing helps to prevent cavities! Think of all the plaque that is visible on your floss when you're done! That plaque was untouchable by your toothbrush, obviously, or it wouldn't have been left behind after brushing. The area between your teeth is often a place that cavities happen because plaque was allowed to hang out there.  Plaque contains bacteria that secrete acids to erode enamel and cause tooth decay.  The only effective way to remove that plaque completely is with dental floss. This is especially important during orthodontic treatment as the braces and wires make it even more difficult for your toothbrush to reach in between the teeth. The wire serves as a "road block" to your tooth brush so threading that floss underneath the wire and getting at those surfaces is extra important.  The American Dental Association recommends that flossing be done before brushing so that the fluoride contained within toothpaste can reach those surfaces between the teeth once that plaque is removed by floss.

Flossing reduces tartar buildup! Calculus is hardened dental plaque.  It is formed by minerals that exist in your saliva and the fluid that hangs out underneath your gingiva (gingival crevicular fluid).  Those minerals precipitate out of those fluids and turn that nasty plaque into hard calculus.  Calculus then serves as a spot for more plaque to hide around and make the situation even worse.  To prevent calculus from forming, all that plaque needs to be removed between the teeth and the only way to reach it is by using dental floss.

Flossing helps to prevent bad breath!  Bacteria causes bad breath.  Bacteria live in plaque.  Flossing removes plaque.  It's that simple.

Flossing helps to prevent gum disease! Gingivitis and periodontitis (a more severe form of gum disease) are caused by bacteria that live in plaque.  Those bacteria cause redness, swelling and bleeding of your gums.  And when that gingivitis is allowed to persist, it can develop into periodontal disease.  When a patient gets periodontal disease, the bone that surrounds your teeth starts to disappear.  That can result in loosening and loss of teeth.

We Care About Our Patients

We only recommend flossing because we care about your oral and overall health! Through our years of experience, we’ve seen the difference that flossing can make. Braces make it even harder to keep those teeth clean, so it's extra important to floss during orthodontic treatment.  So, ignore the headlines and take it from the professionals: flossing works! Keep up the good flossing habits and we promise you’ll feel the difference.

How to care for your retainers after orthodontic treatment?

THE DAY YOU HAVE BEEN waiting for has finally arrived… your braces are off. Congratulations! A lot of people mistakenly believe that orthodontic treatment ends after braces, but it’s important to understand that wearing a retainer has an equally essential part in creating and maintaining that beautiful new smile of yours.

Take Proper Care Of Your Retainer

The first step in taking care of your retainer is to clean it daily. Depending on your preference as well as the type of retainer you get, maintenance may vary. Below we’ve compiled our top recommendations on how to clean your orthodontic appliance.

Denture Cleansers

Denture cleansers are a simple and easy way to clean your retainer. Efferdent and Polident are popular brands. If you have a retainer with solder joints, make sure you use a non-persulfate cleanser such as DentaSoak. Simply soak your retainer for the recommended amount of time, rinse and gently scrub with a toothbrush specifically designated for your retainer.  RetainerBrite is also a popular alternative.  Ask us for a sample, and we'll also give you the information you need to order it online.

Dish Soap and Baking Soda

These mild household cleaners also work well to clean your retainer. Scrub your retainer with a toothbrush and mild dish soap. Rinse thoroughly. Or if you’d rather opt for baking soda, wet your toothbrush and sprinkle some on the head. Scrub and rinse well with warm water.

Protect Your Investment

We’ve all heard the retainer horror stories… throwing it away with your school lunch, leaving it on the table only to find it later, a mangled mess in your dog’s mouth. Here are some tips to help you protect your investment:
•Do not use toothpaste to clean your retainer (unless it is non-abrasive). The majority of toothpastes contain abrasive substances that can scratch your retainer, damaging its appearance over time and creating places where bacteria can collect.
•When your retainer isn’t in your mouth, keep it in your case and out of reach of small children or pets.
•Never boil or use hot water to rinse your retainer. You wouldn’t want it to melt or change shape.
•Avoid wrapping it up in napkins so it doesn’t accidentally get thrown away.
•If you choose to place your retainer in mouthwash for that fresh, minty taste, make sure it’s a mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol. Alcohol can cause damage to the retainer acrylic.

Keep Up The Good Work

Taking care of your retainer is just as important as wearing it. You’ve worked hard for that beautiful, straight smile–we’re here to help you keep it that way! Do you have any questions about retainer maintenance? Call us or let us know in the comments below.



How will your diet change with braces?

GOOD NUTRITION IS extremely important to having a healthy smile. It also aids in orthodontic treatment!
By eating right during your treatment, you can make sure your teeth are strong enough to support braces as well as avoid any setbacks.

Avoid Hard, Chewy Foods With Braces

In reality, your diet won’t change much because of orthodontic treatment. There are, however, some foods that you should avoid. Your braces may be sturdy and strong, but they’re not invincible. Do your best to stay away from the following foods while wearing braces:
•Hard candies
•Chewy, sticky candy such as taffy, gummy bears, caramel, etc.
•Hard cookies or crackers

There are also foods that you should eat with caution, such as:
•Raw vegetables. It is better to cook vegetables such carrots and broccoli before eating them so they are softer and easier on your braces.
•Fruit. Cut up harder fruits such as apples before eating and chew with the back molars. Be careful with the pits of some fruits as well.
•Pizza crust and other hard, chewy breads. Bread like baguettes, bagels and pizza crusts are often hard to chew. To soften them, heat them up and cut them into smaller pieces.
•Corn. Stay away from corn on the cob. First cut the corn off the cob and then enjoy!
•Tough meats. Some meats are more fibrous than others and can be hard to chew. The best varieties of meat for braces are the tender cuts, meat cooked in a slow cooker, and meat cut off the bone. Chicken and seafood are good protein alternatives as well.
•Chips. Eat chips carefully and one at a time.

It’s also important to refrain from chewing on pencils, pens and fingernails–this can also do damage to your wires and brackets.

Make Sure You Eat A Balanced Diet

A healthy diet combined with good oral hygiene makes for faster and more effective orthodontic treatment. Unfortunately, some braces wearers resign to a diet of soft foods with little nutritional value because of the above restrictions. Even though you have to be careful with some foods, it’s more important than ever to keep up proper nutrition. Healthy teeth respond better to orthodontic treatment!

In addition, orthodontic appliances put you at a higher risk of tooth decay. Cavities and other oral health problems such as gum disease can prolong treatment time. Maintain a balanced diet as well as a diligent oral healthcare routine to protect your smile from tooth decay and oral disease. And remember, twice-yearly visits to your dentist are just as important for the health and beauty of your smile as your visits to our office!

Have Questions? We Have Answers!

Do you have any more questions about what you can and can’t eat with braces? Call us or send us a message through social media. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Thank you for the trust you place in our practice!