Submitted by Dr. Michael Margolis, DDS, IMD, FIND
No matter how well you brush your teeth, it’s impossible to reach food debris that may be lodged under the gum-line with only a toothbrush. Here is the good news, it’s easy to floss correctly, and it only takes an extra minute or so in your daily oral hygiene routine to reap the benefits.
One “floss” does not fit all…
There are many different types of interdental cleaning devices. Here are a few of the options along with some flossing tips. Depending on your teeth spacing, any dental work in progress & personal preference, you have many options. Most importantly with flossing is daily consistency.
Unwaxed Floss can be used between closely spaced teeth, but is more likely to break or fray than the waxed floss.
Waxed Floss is coated with a thin layer of wax. It may not be as easy to use between tightly spaced teeth, but is more resistant to breakage than unwaxed floss.
A Floss Threader is a needle-type device made from nylon, through which floss is threaded, allowing floss to be pushed into tight spaces or through dental work. Floss threaders enable thorough flossing and plaque removal under dental implants, bridges and braces.
Super Floss is a yarn like material with stiff ends that can be guided through dental work such as dental implants, bridges and braces.
Dental Tape, comes waxed or unwaxed. It is broader and flatter than regular floss. It is typically used for teeth less tightly spaced.
F, or Y-shaped floss holders (also called floss picks) are plastic tools that hold a length of floss, rather than you having to hold the floss with your fingers. Tip: You’ll need several for your whole mouth. Use a clean one in between each tooth to avoid moving bacteria located in one area of the mouth to another area, which includes under the gum pockets. Environmentally they contribute to consumption of single use plastics…For those concerned in making an effort to care for the environment, these are not the best choice for lowering our impact.
Flavored Floss leaves your mouth feeling a little fresher, this can also be an option in between brushing.
Small spiral brushes are used to push in and out of gaps between widely spaced teeth or around braces or other devices. If you have implants, special plastic-coated brush stems are also available to avoid scratching implant abutments.
Wash your hands before and after flossing
Dispose of floss, flossers, softpicks or other interdental cleaning devices in the trash after use. These contain bacteria and should never be re-used or given to someone else to use.
If you have braces, bridges, temporaries or other devices in your mouth, consult with us for specific instructions on flossing correctly. You can also ask us during your next teeth cleaning / oral hygiene visit.
Post surgery, flossing is not usually recommended around surgical site. Follow recommendations given to you post surgery to avoid accidentally disrupting the surgical site or the healing process.
Use waxed floss if you have trouble slipping the floss between the teeth.
If you only floss once a day, do it before bed to avoid food from remaining in the crevices of your teeth overnight.
How to Floss
Use about 18 inches of floss, winding the ends around each middle finger.
Pinch the floss in between the thumbs and index fingers, leaving 1 to 2 inches in between.
Gently insert floss in between the teeth, creating a “C” shape with the floss so it is curved around the tooth.
Keeping the floss pressed against the tooth, gently slide the floss under the gum-line, then up and down the side of the tooth.
Keep the floss firm between your fingers, and avoid jerking or snapping the floss.
With a clean section of floss, repeat for each side of the tooth, including behind the back teeth.
After flossing, rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash.
Regular professional cleaning with your dental hygienist, plus the correct care at home, are complimentary in maintaining optimal oral health. Our oral hygienist can go over the correct way to floss your teeth, and provide personalized options for keeping your mouth healthy in between visits.
Contact us today at 480-833-2232 to schedule your next appointment.