Trouble Flossing? Help Is at Hand
Are you one of those people who doesn’t floss because you find it awkward to maneuver the floss between your teeth? If so, a number of products can help you get this important job done.
Flossing is an essential part of dental hygiene because it removes plaque between teeth and at the gum line. That’s where tooth decay and gum disease begin.1 You must get rid of plaque, the microscopic film of bacteria that builds up on teeth, for a healthy mouth.2
Cleaning between the teeth once a day with floss removes plaque from areas where the toothbrush can’t reach. For best results, guide the floss between teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.2
Here is a breakdown of different dental aides.
Waxed dental floss: You might find floss coated with wax slides more easily between your teeth than uncoated floss.3
Dental tape: This extra-wide floss may be helpful for people with a lot of bridgework. It’s usually recommended when the spaces between teeth are wide.3
Wooden plaque remover picks: Flat wooden picks stimulate the gums and remove plaque. They can be easier to use than floss for some people.4
Waterpicks: While effective at removing stubborn food particles around orthodontic braces, waterpicks do not remove plaque. Don’t use waterpicks as a substitute for brushing and flossing.5
Mouthwash: While using a mouthwash can help to remove oral debris before or after brushing, it is not a substitute for flossing. Dental experts recommend brushing and flossing before using mouthwash.6
1 “Proper Flossing.” American Dental Hygienists’ Association. www.adha.org/oralhealth/flossing.htm Accessed 2010.
2 “Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums: FAQ.” Oral Health Topics, American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2624.aspx Accessed 2010.
3 “Should I Floss?” Know Your Teeth, Academy of General Dentistry. www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=s&iid=302&aid=1244 Accessed 2010.
4 “Buying Oral Care Products.” American Dental Association. Journal of the American Dental Association. November 2002, vol. 133, p. 1587. www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/patient_20.pdf Accessed 2010.
5 “Should I Floss?” Academy of General Dentistry. www.agd.org/public/oralhealth/Default.asp?IssID=302&Topic=F&ArtID=1244#body Accessed 2010.
6 “Wrong Choice of Product Could Have Negative Side Effects.”Know Your Teeth, Academy of General Dentistry, August 2007. www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=w&iid=184&aid=3155 Accessed 2010.