Brushing and flossing are vital for oral health. But did you know there’s more to brushing and flossing than just “twice a day for two minutes”? 

At Freeman Orthodontics in San Jose, we can tell you that there is more to brushing and flossing than, well, brushing and flossing. How you brush and floss are as essential to oral hygiene as the frequency.

Most people think they know all there is to know about brushing and flossing. Are you one of them? Let’s find out how much you do know with a quick fact-or-fiction quiz. 

“I should brush first, then floss.”

False! Most people think you should brush first, then floss. That’s probably what Mom and Dad taught you, right? 

Well, no offense to Mom and Dad, but that’s actually backward. We recommend you floss your teeth first, then brush

“That’s madness!” you may say. Actually, it makes sense. 

When you floss, you remove particles from between your teeth. If you brush afterward, you remove those particles along with the plaque and everything else. If you floss after you brush, those particles can stick around and end up right back on the teeth.

Gross, right? That’s why you should floss first. 

“I should floss daily to protect my teeth and my gums.”

True! Flossing removes particles from between your teeth and not only cleans them up, but it also allows space for your fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash to clean and protect there. That’s an area especially at risk for tooth decay. 

In addition, flossing cleans the gums between the teeth. Food particles left on the gums can get between the gums and teeth and cause irritation. Plaque and food particles left on the gums can eventually lead to gum disease. So flossing helps your gums as much as your teeth! 

“I should brush with fluoride toothpaste.”

True! It’s long been established that fluoride protects against tooth decay! How? Simple! Fluoride works with calcium and phosphate in your saliva to strengthen your enamel — the tooth’s hard outer shell. The stronger your enamel, the less chance you have of getting cavities. 

Nowadays, most toothpaste contains fluoride, but check the packaging just in case. 

“I should rinse well with water after brushing.”

False! Rinsing with a lot of water after brushing gets rid of all that great fluoride you just put all over your teeth. It’s best to spit out the excess. 

If you still have too much toothpaste, though, you can use up to a tablespoon of water to rinse. Keep it to a minimum, and you will keep all that helpful fluoride. 

“I can eat or drink right away after using mouthwash.”

False! You need to wait 30 minutes after using a fluoride mouthwash before you eat or drink anything. That 30-minute wait gives the fluoride time to work with the saliva and absorb into the enamel. 

Food or water rinses it from the tooth before the fluoride has time to strengthen the enamel. By waiting 30 minutes, you give your teeth a better chance to fight tooth decay! 

“I should see my dentist at least twice a year for a good cleaning.”

True! The American Dental Association recommends visiting your dentist at least every six months for proper, thorough cleaning. That includes orthodontic care patients! In fact, patients particularly vulnerable to tooth decay or undergoing dental or orthodontic treatments may need to visit the dentist every four months. 

We can recommend the best time interval for your cleanings. It’s important to get that semi-annual cleaning to avoid tooth decay during your orthodontic treatment.

“My orthodontist can teach me brushing and flossing for braces.”

True! Let’s face it, brushing and flossing with braces can be a bit tricky! But it’s not as hard as you think, especially if you have the right tools. There are special tools that allow you to floss around braces.

We can show you the best way to brush and floss around your braces to ensure your teeth stay clean and decay-free during your treatment. 

Your Trusted Orthodontist in San Jose

If you still have questions about brushing and flossing, Freeman Orthodontics is here to help. Whether you’re undergoing treatment with braces or Invisalign, we can show you the best techniques to keep your teeth sparkling during and after treatment. With the proper techniques and a little encouragement, you’ll be ready to show off that gorgeous new smile after treatment and for a lifetime! 

Contact us if you’re in the San Jose, CA, area. We proudly serve the surrounding areas, including Los Gatos, Campbell, Santa Teresa, Evergreen, Freemont, Milpitas, Los Altos, and The Bay Area. Schedule a free orthodontic consult and come see us today! 

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