La Habra/Chino Hills, CA – Every dentist tells patients to floss daily – we all know it, but is it really important? Can’t we just take a bit of extra time brushing, instead of going through the hassle of flossing?
“It’s a common question dentists and orthodontists are asked,” says La Habra/Chino Hills orthodontist Dr. Robert Gire. “We are all busy and want to get through our routines as quickly as possible, but it is absolutely important to floss daily.”
A couple of months ago, a news report questioned whether flossing actually had scientific health benefits. The world rejoiced, hoping they could abandon their floss. But the American Dental Association quickly released a statement emphasizing that flossing and other interdental cleaners are an essential part of a healthy oral care routine.
“The bottom line is that food particles and bacteria can settle into the spaces between teeth and at the gumline,” says Dr. Gire. “And unfortunately, your toothbrush just can’t reach into those places. If not properly removed, plaque can build up, and that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.”
Regular brushing and flossing, paired with professional dental cleanings, have been proven to remove plaque and help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing is essential to removing the debris that can build up between the teeth that, if left, can contribute to plaque buildup.
And flossing can be especially important for those who wear braces. The nooks and crannies created by the brackets and wires of your braces leave lots of places for this debris to hide. You can make flossing while wearing braces easier by using a floss threader.
“You can purchase a floss threader in the dental section of pretty much any grocery store or pharmacy,” says Dr. Gire. “I recommend them to all of my orthodontic patients, as well as those who may have dexterity problems that can make flossing more difficult. We also provide them at our office when we discuss oral hygiene and care for your braces.”
Floss threaders are easy to use. Simply pull of about 12-18 inches of floss, and insert one end of the floss into the loop of the threader, feeding enough floss through to be able to grip it easily. Pass the threader over or under your orthodontic appliance, and remove the threader from the floss. Then, floss back and forth and up and down between the teeth and at the gumline. Repeat the process throughout the mouth.
“It’s crucial to pay close attention to your oral care all the time, but especially during orthodontic treatment,” says Dr. Gire. “We’re working hard together to improve your bite so you’ll have a beautiful smile at the end of treatment. You don’t want to waste all of that hard work by succumbing to tooth decay or gum disease. Flossing while wearing braces may take a bit longer than it otherwise would, but trust me, it is important.”
If you have questions about how to properly floss during orthodontic treatment, or how to use a floss threader, ask your orthodontist at your next appointment. The orthodontic staff will be happy to help you to ensure you have a healthy, beautiful smile once your treatment is complete.
To schedule an orthodontic consultation, call Gire Orthodontics today 562-690-1199 (La Habra) or 909-393-9911 (Chino Hills).