Let’s be honest — we all want beautiful smiles. You don’t want crooked teeth, discolored gums, bad breath, or stained teeth. You want your smile to brighten every room you walk into. It’s no secret how to maintain healthy teeth — you have to visit the dentist for regular checkups and follow all the guidelines recommended for your oral health at home (i.e. brushing twice a day and flossing). Here’s what to know about brushing and flossing in order to best optimize your oral hygiene.
When is the ideal time to floss?
The American Dental Association (ADA) reported on a survey in 2017 that found that only 16 percent of people reported flossing “at least once a day” despite the fact that the ADA recommends flossing to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. The ADA also notes that The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has called flossing “an important oral hygiene practice.” According to the ADA, it doesn’t necessarily matter when you clean between your teeth so much as that you do a “thorough job” and are actually doing it at least once a day, every day.
However, a 2018 study found that flossing first was more effective because it allows the fluoride in your toothpaste to get in between your teeth, which is better for preventing plaque and cavities.
Bottom line? It sounds like it’s better to floss and then brush your teeth. But the most important thing is that you floss, period.
Don’t take our word for it — ask your dentist
While at-home dental care is critical to oral health as well as your overall health, you should always follow your dentist and/or orthodontist’s recommendations for your specific dental needs. To get the best dental services, you’re going to need dental insurance. For the best dental coverage, compare dental insurance plans with iSelect. This way, you’ll get the best deal when it comes to affordable deductibles and premiums for dental insurance.
By comparing dental coverage, you can get the best dental coverage for your individual needs. For example, if you and your spouse have good dental health, then a general dental plan that covers most preventive care services such as checkups, cleanings, filling small cavities, x-rays, fluoride treatments, etc. will most likely cover all the dental services you’ll need. However, if you have dependents (children) who may need a pediatric dentist, an orthodontist for braces, or if you are expecting to need implants, crowns, or a root canal, etc. then a major dental plan will most likely serve you better.
When should you see an orthodontist?
When it comes to oral care, some may be confused about what the difference between orthodontist and dentist is (this is where a great dental provider comes in handy). Most people only know the basic differences between dentists and orthodontists: a dentist does your checkups and fills your cavities, and an orthodontist is a dentist that puts braces on your kid’s teeth, right? This is true, but there’s a little more to it than this.
Both dentists and orthodontists have been to and completed dental school, but orthodontists have completed additional schooling to specialize in orthodontics. A general dentist provides exams and can assist with a lot of dental issues and some even provide Invisalign, but an orthodontists’ extra years of dental school allow them to provide individualized treatment plans for braces, jaw issues, alignment of the teeth (such as to correct an overbite or underbite), teeth overlap, crowded teeth, and different procedures for teeth that don’t come in properly (or don’t come in at all) or issues affecting daily living like chewing, facial imbalances, headaches, teeth grinding, etc.
To ensure that you’re getting the proper orthodontic care for you and/or your children, ensure that your dentist also specializes in orthodontics by either checking the dental offices’ website to see which dentists are members of the American Association of Orthodontists or by asking your dentist directly if they are in the American Association of Orthodontists.
Bonus tip: you should always see an orthodontist for braces. Ask your general dentist which orthodontists they recommend.