You brush your teeth 2 times a day and maybe even use a mouthrinse….so why floss?
It is impossible to reach between your teeth while brushing thus leaving plaque in those areas. Brushing only cleans 65% of teeth surfaces, leaving 35% dirty! Millions of bacteria hide out in the plaque and produce an acid that eats thru the enamel causing cavities and irritates the gum causing gingivitis. That plaque then is pushed below the gumline and the acid from the bacteria eats the bone around your teeth, a.k.a. periodontal disease.
There are so many different options to clean between your teeth:
Unwaxed floss: Best kind of floss to use, easy to use for tight teeth but breaks or frays easy
Waxed floss: basic floss with a coating of wax – won’t break as easy, but sometimes harder to use with tight contacts.
Polytetrafluoro-ethylene floss: better known by name brands such as Glide. Synthetic fibers make it easier to use in tight contacts.
Dental Tape: flat ribbon floss – More effective than traditional floss for cleaning between teeth that are not tightly spaced
Superfloss: yarn like floss with stiff ends. Best floss to use to clean under bridges, around implants and braces and some crowns.
Floss Threader: small plastic “needle” used to thread basic floss to clean similar to Superfloss.
Floss holder: “y” shaped plastic holder that holds floss between two prongs. Makes it easier for those that have a hard time flossing with fingers/hands.
Floss picks: disposable plastic flosser – a convienent way to floss – can break with tight contacts.
Wedge stimulator: plastic or wooden triangle shaped “toothpick”. Used like a toothpick to clean and stimulate gums, but make of a safer material.
Interproximal brush: handle with a small brush on end to clean like like basic floss and Superfloss
Irrigation device (Waterpik): Motorized instrument that uses a pulsated stream of water to clean between teeth – Good to use with bridges, braces, and implants. Flushes food and plaque debris.
With any of the flossing choices: never “snap” the floss between your teeth, gently hug each tooth and use an up and down motion on each tooth. Always be careful not to injure the gums. For more information or question: feel free to leave a comment or ask at your next dental appointment.
Erin Scott, LDH