At home, dental care is necessary and flossing is an essential part of dental hygiene, even more than brushing. The main purpose of flossing is to remove food residue between our teeth and prevent plaque formation. The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day as an essential step in getting rid of harmful plaque, the bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing removes plaque from the areas between your teeth, places where your toothbrush can’t reach. Everybody gets plaque, that is inevitable, and it can only be removed by regular flossing or a deep cleaning from your dentist.
There are several options for cleaning the space in-between your teeth. You might choose to use dental floss and there are few types like: waxed floss or un-waxed, thick or comfort floss or another product specifically made for this purpose. Some of the products are:
– Interdental brushes (tiny brushes designed to get in between teeth)
– Wooden plaque remover
– Spongy floss
– Dental tape
– Water flosser
Floss is usually made from nylon or plastic filaments. It may have flavoring agents, such as mint, to make flossing more pleasant. You can ask your dentist which type is better for you and how to use them properly to avoid injuring your gums. The ADA does not recommend using a floss strand more than once.
The most important thing about flossing is to do it and do it on a daily basis, at least once a day; the best time would be before going to bed. Don’t look for excuses as so many people do. It seems that flossing is the most difficult grooming activity. We all hate it. Just don’t be lazy, “I don’t know how to floss“ is just an excuse.
How to floss
The right way to floss your teeth consists of few essential and not overly difficult steps.
- Use about 18 inch of floss, wind it around your middle fingers and leave an inch or two to work with.
- Hold floss between your thumbs and index fingers and gently guide it between the teeth by using a zigzag motion.
- Contour the floss around the side of the tooth, do it gently.
- Slide the floss up and down your tooth and under the gum line, but avoid snapping the floss on the gums. Gums can bleed easily so it is better to be careful.
- Floss each tooth with a clean section of the floss, thus avoiding bacteria transfer.
Flossing or brushing
There have been endless debates between brushing and flossing. Which is better?
Flossing essentially removes the food residue between your teeth that a toothbrush might fail to reach and brushing is indispensable for the rest of your teeth and oral cavity.
When all is said and done, brushing and flossing are both important for your oral health. If you are planning to keep your teeth strong and in optimal health for life, make sure you use both techniques. If you brush your teeth, but do not floss, you are leaving a lot of plaque and bacteria which can cause gum disease and cavities.