It’s not uncommon for our patients to admit that they do not floss regularly. The truth is, most Americans do not floss daily, stating that it takes too much time. Flossing, however, is an important part of maintaining good oral health. Brushing alone cleans only 60% of the tooth surface, while flossing reaches the tight spaces of your teeth and gums where a toothbrush cannot reach.
Failure to floss regularly increases the chance of periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, and bad breath, among other oral problems. While we love our patients at Stout Dentistry, our goal is to see you just twice annually for your regular teeth cleanings. Incorporating a good flossing routine will prevent you from having to come see us for emergency procedures.
Today, there are several ways to clean between the teeth and we’ll explain the benefit of each one to help you determine which is best for you.
Which Type of Dental Floss Should I Use?
As you may well know, there are many different types of flosses available in drugstores today. Choosing one of the dozens can feel overwhelming. Waxed or unwaxed floss? Regular floss or dental tape? Should you use a water flosser?
Our mouths come in different shapes and sizes, some of us have braces, or have teeth in the back of our mouths that are difficult to floss. Fortunately, there are floss products that suit all needs.
First, let’s talk about the different types of floss:
Nylon floss is composed of about 35 strands of nylon twisted together and looks like a very thin rope or string. Because it is made up of several fibers, it prone to shred or break while flossing.
Dental tape is a wide, flat floss available both waxed and unwaxed.
PTFE floss is made of a single filament strand, from the same material used in Gore-tex fabrics. It tends to slide more easily between teeth and is less likely to shred on account of the strength of the single strand.
Super Flosses are thick and composed of a spongy yarn-like material. It is ideal for those with wide gaps between their teeth.
If you have trouble reaching the back of your mouth, then try a floss holder. Shaped sort of like a disposable razor, a floss holder holds a piece of floss at the tip of a long handle. This allows those with small mouths to more easily reach the back teeth.
If your teeth are close together and nylon floss tends to shred easily or doesn’t fit between your teeth, then try a waxed floss or a single filament floss (PTFE). The wax will help the floss slide more easily between your teeth.
If you wear braces or have bridges then super floss is a great option. One end is stiff, which assists in pushing the floss between the gaps of the braces or bridges. Saw the floss gently back and forth or up and down between the space to remove the plaque.
If you need to floss on the go, carry a small travel-sized floss with you, toothpicks, or floss picks. Avoid using objects that are not intended to squeeze between your teeth like fingernails, utensils, or paper.
In addition to the flosses mentioned above water flossing is becoming more common. A water flosser is a handheld device that sprays a stream of water between your teeth. They are just as effective at removing plaque as regular flossing and have earned the ADA seal of acceptance. These are great for those with braces or bridges, or who are concerned about the amount waste produced with daily flossing.
Whichever method you choose, make sure you’re flossing correctly: Take an 18” strand of floss and wrap either end around your middle fingers, leaving an inch or two of space in the middle. Take your thumb and index finger and hold the floss as you guide it between your teeth. Curve the floss around each tooth in a “c” shape and be sure to gently reach below the gum line.
If you have more questions about how to floss correctly or don’t know which floss is right for you, schedule an appointment at out East Charlotte Dentist office, Stout Dentistry. Give us a call today at 704.332.7737.
Our Eastover Dental Practice
is conveniently located in Charlotte NC.
If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this article it may be time to see Dr. Stout. Schedule an appointment with Stout Dentistry. Give us a call today at 704.332.7737.