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Why you should floss for dental health.

Make your orthodontist happy and floss regularly

Have you flossed today? I hope so — as an orthodontist, I recommend flossing be part of your daily routine, particularly if you wear dental braces. In this post, I explain why.

Isn’t brushing enough?

Brushing is essential. However, that toothbrush of yours won’t reach all those ‘nasties’ that set up camp in the spaces between your teeth and gums.

It needs a helping hand.

Floss is known as an interdental cleaner. It’s designed to get into places your toothbrush can’t reach — between your teeth as well as the gaps between the base of your teeth and top of your gums.

If you are unsure about how to floss, watch this short video.

What happens if I don’t floss?

Failing to floss is NOT a good idea. It can lead to several problems including

  • Gingivitis — a mild gum disease, which can cause painful swelling of gums and sores in your mouth. Bleeding gums can be a warning that gingivitis is settling in.
  • Bad breath — unchecked food particles in your teeth and gums breed bacteria, which can cause halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath.
  • Receding gums — gum tissue can wear away and expose the roots of your teeth. Experiencing pain when drinking a hot or ice-cold drink can be a warning sign.
  • Teeth may fall out — Yikes! This can happen due to gum disease being left untreated for too long resulting in infections.

 

Should I floss before or after brushing?

It doesn’t really matter whether you floss before or after brushing. Just make sure you do! Even young children should floss as soon as they have two teeth next to each other.

Choose a time that enables you to dedicate a couple of extra minutes so that you can do a thorough job.

Which floss would an orthodontist recommend?

Any floss is better than no floss. However, as an orthodontist, I find that Oral B Superfloss is particularly good for cleaning around braces. It has three components that enable you to achieve a complete clean:

  1. A stiff-end dental floss threader that enables you to floss under your dental braces or bridge.
  2. Spongy floss that cleans around your appliance and wide spaces.
  3. Regular floss that removes plaque from below the gum line.

Airflosser is also excellent, and if you prefer floss threaders, we can supply them at the clinic.

I hope that, if you didn’t already, you now understand the importance of flossing. If you enjoyed this post, please share.

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Do you want a smile like Tom Cruise? It’s never too late

If I say “Tom Cruise,” what first springs to mind? His flawless white teeth, perhaps? Well, if so, it may surprise you to learn that Thomas Cruise Mapother the Fourth (yes, that’s his real name) wasn’t born with a perfect smile. He saw an orthodontist.

Apparently, Mr Cruise’s teeth used to be pretty bad, and he was spotted wearing braces as recently as 2002. Actually, lots of ‘beautiful people’, including Nicholas Cage, Gwen Stefani and Faith Hill, have seen an orthodontist as adults in pursuit of that ‘perfect smile.’

So, where am I heading with this post? Well, you don’t have to be born with perfect teeth to make significant improvements.

A confident smile

Studies show that people are actually more likely to succeed in their personal and professional lives if they have good teeth. Why? Well, Tom Cruise knows it, you know it, I know it; we are judged by our looks.

As unfair as this may be, people make assumptions. That’s human nature. For example, if your lower teeth protrude, you may be perceived as aggressive; if there’s a gap between your top-front teeth, people may think you’re not too clever.

Of course, when it comes to success (or lack of it) it’s possible that self-perception plays a big part —when we project confidence, people are more likely to have confidence in us.

It’s never too late

These days, if you want to improve your teeth, there’s not much stopping you. As celebrities, like Tom Cruise, show, orthodontic treatment isn’t reserved for teenagers. You’re never too old. At Turner Lim, we’ve treated patients in their 60s!

Teeth move

Some adults come to us with crooked teeth, despite having worn braces when they were younger. This may seem strange, but it’s understandable. Teeth move over time, and 20 – 30 years ago, many orthodontists didn’t instruct their patients to wear retainers post treatment — they didn’t think they were necessary. However, we now know that retainers prevent teeth from moving back to their original positions once braces have been removed.

Is treatment expensive?

Orthodontic treatment isn’t as expensive as you might think. Depending on your budget, there are several options available, and most orthodontists offer payment plans.

Braces can be discrete

Of course, as an adult, you’re probably concerned about how you will look with braces. The good news is that you needn’t look like ‘Metal Micky’. Modern braces are not as conspicuous as they used to be. Invisalign®, for example, uses aligners that are almost invisible, and ceramic braces are made of translucent material and use tooth-coloured wires.

In reality, an orthodontist may not be able to make your teeth quite as perfect as Tom Cruise’s. However, they can get pretty close.

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Don’t let a dental braces malfunction spoil your holiday

You’re going on holiday. Great. For a week or two — maybe longer — you can let down your hair down and forget about the everyday stresses of daily life. If you wear dental braces, though, be prepared. After all, we’d hate for a twisted wire or broken bracket to spoil your fun.

If you’re planning a significant time away, get a braces ‘warrant of fitness.’ It won’t take long, and your orthodontist will be able to check that everything is in place, so you can have peace of mind.

What to pack

To ensure your braces are well maintained, put together a holiday hygiene kit. Here’s a list of what to include:

  • a travel toothbrush
  • toothpicks
  • dental floss (we recommend Superfloss, as it makes flossing easy and is available at most pharmacies)
  • orthodontic wax (this prevents any protruding wire from causing discomfort)
  • elastic bands
  • a bottle of mouth rinse
  • a mirror to enable you to inspect your braces.

To eat or not to eat?

While on holiday we often try foods we might not normally eat. However, please avoid foods that are hard, chewy or sticky. We suggest that patients with braces brush two to three times a day. However, the chances are that your teeth will be exposed to more enamel-eating sugar than usual, so try to brush more often.

Anyway, on the subject of food, here are some definite no-no’s:

  • corn on the cob
  • boiled sweets
  • nuts such as peanuts, almonds and cashews
  • hard bread rolls
  • hard biscuits (or dunk them in your coffee or Milo first)
  • ice.

Some foods you can eat

Of course, there is a myriad of foods you can eat. Here are some:

  • Fruit— cut whole fruits, like apples and pears, into wedges before you eat them. Fruit like bananas, oranges, grapes and berries are generally safe to eat.
  • Dairy products — cheese and yogurt are nice, safe options.
  • Sandwiches — try with avocado sprinkled with salt and pepper.
  • Walnuts — although most nuts will do your braces no favours, walnuts are softer and are usually okay to eat.
  • Desserts — custard, ice cream and chocolate.

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