La Grange, IL – Braces are very popular orthodontic tools because they are extremely effective at straightening teeth. However, having braces can be difficult to maintain. How, then, does the average braces patient achieve the best results possible? Dr. Beam of Battistoni and Beam Orthodontics notes, “While the upkeep of braces can be cumbersome, it’s absolutely worth it in the long-term.”
Is Flossing Actually Helpful?
Recently, mixed reviews about the benefits of flossing have come to light. In 2016, an annual report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services opted not to mention flossing, causing many to consider abandoning the practice. Many dentists took issue with the idea of throwing out one’s dental floss.
“Before giving up on flossing, consider the benefits,” advises Dr. Beam’s partner, Dr. Battistoni. “Flossing is immensely helpful in reducing the amount of plaque-causing bacteria in the mouth.” Additionally, flossing is great when it comes to lowering the chances of getting periodontal (gum) disease, as it helps to get food out of hard-to-reach crevices. Lower rates of periodontal disease are linked to lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other health problems.
“For optimal oral health, we always recommend flossing,” notes Dr. Battistoni. “This is particularly important for people wearing braces.”
Braces and Flossing
To properly clean between each tooth, it’s best to pass the floss behind each wire and in between all crevices possible. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using a C-shape flossing technique for good gum health. To prevent damage to the braces’ wires, floss slowly and gently. Though it can be time-consuming, flossing should be done daily.
Other options like WaterPik and AirFloss can replace or augment regular dental floss. Since water- and air-based cleaning devices can reach spots other floss may miss, they are ideal for people wearing braces. Super Floss is another popular choice, as it is pre-measured and specifically designed for those with braces, bridges, and wide gaps between teeth. Items called ortho flossers, available in local drugstores can also be used.
“Try several types of floss or similar devices,” Dr. Beam says. “Since so many people wear braces these days, there are always new products on the market. When you find one that suits you, stick with that until you’re done with your braces. Then you can decide which type of flossing you prefer when the braces are off.”
“Remember the important thing, as always, is to consult with a dental professional on topics like flossing and oral health,” adds Dr. Battistoni. “An experienced orthodontist can make sure you’re getting the best care possible.”
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