Do you floss your teeth every day? While most people know that flossing daily is good for oral health, the reality is that not as many of us actually do it. Flossing can be a bit of a chore if you have braces, an appliance or teeth that are very close together. But none of these is an excuse not to floss, and in fact, may be a reason to be more diligent about it.
Different Types of Floss
In recent years many new flossing products have become available to make it easier to get the job done right, regardless of your situation.
Regular Dental Floss
Almost everyone is familiar with regular dental floss, which is most often made of a nylon strand or sometimes Teflon to allow the floss to slide more easily between crowded teeth. Often floss is coated with a minty flavouring which has no impact on its ability to work but gives your mouth a fresh feel as you floss.
This type of floss is wider than standard dental floss, making it useful for people with larger spaces between teeth or getting into the spaces around braces.
Wide spaces between teeth, braces or dental appliances such as lingual arches (wires fixed to the inside of the teeth to prevent movement) call for the use of a specialty floss, which is thick and spongy, resembling a piece of yarn. Spongy floss helps to keep the larger spaces clean and free of tartar buildup.
When getting floss through tight spaces or around the brackets and wires of braces is difficult, floss threaders can help. Loop floss through the threader and use the stiff end of the threader to pull the floss through the space.
If wrapping dental floss around your fingers is awkward or uncomfortable, you can try floss picks instead. These tiny floss holders make it easier to get to the teeth at the back of your mouth.
Soft, Flexible Picks
Flexible, rubber-tipped picks are convenient to help remove food particles between your teeth, especially when you are on the go and can’t do a thorough flossing job. However, floss picks are generally not considered a replacement for regular flossing.
Electric or battery-powered water flossers use a pulsating stream of water to remove particles and plaque from between teeth and around the gumline. They can be very effective when used correctly and are helpful in areas that are difficult to reach with floss but are prone to trapping food particles or accumulating plaque.
How to Do it Right
Regardless of the flossing product you choose, flossing correctly means flossing in between each tooth. Gently sweep around the base of each tooth, and getting under the gumline as much as possible. Move to a new section of floss for each tooth, or if using a floss pick, rinse in between each tooth. And finally, floss before you brush so that any plaque or food bits that have been dislodged by the floss can be cleaned away by brushing.
Flossing your teeth every day is essential to good oral health care, along with regular dental hygiene appointments. Call us to book your next dental cleaning. Your hygienist can show you all about proper flossing techniques and discuss the right type of floss to keep your mouth healthy and clean between visits.