One of the more frequent questions that we get at our practice is “Do I really have to floss my teeth?”
The quick answer is a resounding “Yes!!” Regular flossing stimulates your gums and removes food particles and damaging plaque where a toothbrush cannot reach, including between your teeth and under the gum line.
The next question that follows from our patients is “How do I know if I am flossing the right way?”
Here are the answers to that question and to others on the proper way to floss your teeth:
- How often should I floss? Flossing each day is essential to avoid tooth decay and gum disease from plaque build-up.
- What type of floss is right for me? At our practice, we recommend woven floss. Woven floss, like yarn, has lots of surface area for collecting plaque. As you use it and tighten the floss, it narrows and so is easier to use for those whose teeth are tightly spaced. Woven floss is usually made of cotton and is gentle on the gums.
- I have a lot of dental work including implants and bridges. Which floss can help me the best? Super floss has stiffer portions on each end that can be guided through dental work including braces. A floss threader can also help those with dental work.
- Can other products be used in place of dental floss? A floss pick is a single-use plastic floss holder that can aid in getting the floss between the teeth. Toothpicks can get between the teeth, but are not as effective as floss because of their rigid shape. Interproximal spiral-shaped brushes and swabs can clean between the gaps in teeth. Irrigation devices that send a powered stream of water through a nozzle can flush out debris from dental work and gum pockets as well as stimulate the gums, but are not effective in removing plaque.
- What is the proper technique for using dental floss? Wind most of an 18” piece of floss around both of your middle fingers. Slide the floss gently up and down between the teeth while holding it tightly between your thumb and index fingers. Don’t saw at the gum tissue – instead, curve the floss around the base of each tooth and ease it beneath the gum line gently. Keep moving to clean floss as you move around your mouth.
Feel free to ask us your questions about flossing or any other aspect of oral health. We are here to help!
Let Us Know If You Have Questions on Any Aspect of Oral Health Care
Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care has been treating and educating patients for over twenty-five years. Our office serves the New Fairfield, New Milford, Danbury, and Sherman areas of CT and Pawling, Patterson and Putnam Lake of New York. You can call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.