Brushing and mouthwash are certainly key elements to cleaning your teeth, but there are parts of your teeth that only floss can reach. The areas between your teeth tend to be tight and compact, which makes it hard or impossible for toothbrush bristles or mouthwash to clean. That space between your teeth also holds plaque and germs, which if left unchecked will lead to tartar build up, tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease. Teeth flossing is the only way to ensure that those areas get cleaned, so take the time to floss at least once a day.
There are many different types of floss available, so how do you know which is right for you? Here are a couple things to think about when choosing floss:
Should you choose waxed or unwaxed floss? That depends mostly on personal preference. Waxed floss is designed to more easily get into tight spaces in between teeth, but unwaxed floss is also very slippery, so more assertive pressure is required to truly clean the teeth.
If you have a dental bridge (a tooth replacement that is splinted to and held in place by the adjoining teeth), you should use floss threaders. Since the bridge is splinted, you must thread your floss underneath the bridge in order to clean the teeth and remove debris from beneath it. Superfloss is a great tool for those of you who currently have a bridge.
Dental tape is a slightly thicker form of floss that is recommended for wide gaps or spaces to make sure you get the plaque out instead of just pushing it around. If dental tape still doesn’t seem to effectively remove plaque and food debris for you, there are other tools, such as Softpiks or Proxa Brushes that are specifically designed to clean larger spaces.
To Taste or Not to Taste? Whether or not you get flavored or unflavored floss is entirely up to you. It makes no difference to your dental health. Take care though, as cinnamon allergies are more common than you might suspect!
If you are experiencing problems with flossing, like having trouble getting to all of your teeth, then think about adopting another equally effective method to clean those spaces: pre-threaded dental flossers (pictured above). The pre-threaded dental flosser is small and compact enough to easily fit in your mouth, allowing you to get to every one of your teeth. While these flossers are not as effective as traditional floss, it is definitely better than nothing at all! We have found that our younger patients have fun using them, our geriatric patients find them easier to use for dexterity, and our staunch non-flossers have easily converted to flossers! Before you decide to put down the floss, ask us so we can help you make the right choice to keep your teeth clean and healthy.