Whether you wear traditional metallic braces or clear braces, practicing quality oral hygiene ranks as a vital part of ensuring a successful orthodontic treatment. Brushing after eating helps to remove food particles and harmful oral bacteria that can cling to the wires and brackets of metallic braces or stick to the sides of your clear plastic aligners. Flossing also works to ensure a quick and successful orthodontic treatment by removing food particles that become trapped under the brackets and wires of patients wearing metal braces. Flossing also helps to remove food particles from lingering under clear aligners so your breath stays fresh and your teeth healthy. Ignoring your daily oral hygiene, however, can cause significant problems to not only your orthodontic treatment but to your long-term oral health as well. When food particles and harmful oral bacteria are allowed to remain in place they can cause tooth decay and discoloration that can permanently alter the health and appearance of your smile. That’s why Dr. Senestraro always stresses the importance of oral hygiene to all of our patients. Now that we’ve established the importance of brushing and flossing, the next obvious question to ask is should you floss before or after you brush? While you might not think much of the order of your oral hygiene, a recent study suggests doing it a certain way can make all of the difference.

Why to Floss Before You Brush

Researchers from the American Academy of Periodontology found that flossing before brushing may be the preferred order for the most comprehensive removal of dental plaque. The study examined 25 participants who were asked to brush their teeth first, before using floss to clean between their teeth. In a second round of examination, the same group was asked to floss prior to brushing. Researchers discovered that the buildup of plaque between the participants’ teeth and overall mouth was significantly reduced when participants used the floss-brush order. Researchers believe that by flossing first, the participants were able to loosen debris and bacteria from between their teeth. Brushing following flossing further works to flush these substances from the mouth and the surface of our teeth. Plaque, a sticky biofilm, is the primary cause of gum disease, an inflammatory condition that develops when the bacteria is allowed to build underneath the gum line. Gum disease can cause swelling, tenderness, and bleeding of gum tissue. When left untreated and allowed to advance, gum disease can lead to permanent tooth loss. Researchers also discovered that fluoride, a mineral proven to help prevent tooth decay and improve the strength of enamel, remained in the mouth for a longer period of time when the study participants flossed prior to brushing. The AAP recommends brushing for at least two minutes at a time, and to floss for at least one minute daily.

Cleaning Your Metal & Clear Braces

A daily cleaning of your orthodontic appliance ranks as one of the key components to enjoying a successful treatment process. Whether you wear metal or clear braces, Dr. Senestraro will provide you with the tips, steps, and tools needed to keep your appliance clean and smile looking its best. Getting braces is an exciting time for most of our patients. But the process can also be time-consuming and expensive when shortcuts are taken, especially when it comes to your oral hygiene. By making the effort to floss and brush as recommended by Dr. Senestraro, you’ll take an important step towards completing your treatment on time so you can start enjoying your great-looking smile.