Let’s face it, many people just don’t spend enough time flossing or brushing their teeth. For some of you not flossing may not be just about a lack of time but because you still aren’t quite sure how to properly floss. Maybe you have tried flossing but are all thumbs? In todays blog we hope to share with you some of the reasons why flossing is so important and we also hope to give you a couple of easy techniques to try out.
Flossing is your single most important weapon against plaque and is possibly even more important than your toothbrush. Flossing removes plaque and debris in-between your teeth and under the gumline, places that your toothbrush cannot even begin to reach. Floss also polishes the tooth surfaces and it also helps to control bad breath. Fact is, if you are not flossing then you are not cleaning 35% of every tooth in your mouth. That is a whole lot of unclean teeth!
We’d like to explain two flossing methods that you can try out in your battle to combat that forever present plaque. One of the methods is called the “spool method” and the other is called the “loop method”.
1. Take a piece of dental floss approximately 21 centimeters in length and wind the bulk of the floss lightly around your middle finger.
2. Now wind the remainder of the floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take-up the floss as it becomes soiled or frayed during use.
3. Maneuver the floss between the teeth with your index finger and thumbs, wipe each tooth from base to tip two or three times.
4. Remember to floss both sides of every tooth. Don’t rub the floss side-to-side as if you’re shining shoes, and don’t pull the floss down hard against your gums or you’ll hurt them.
The “loop” method of flossing is suited for children or adults with less nimble hands, poor muscular coordination or arthritis.
1. Take an 46 centimetre piece of dental floss and make it into a circle.
2. Tie it securely with three knots.
3. Place all of the fingers except your thumb, within the loop.
4. Use your index fingers to guide the floss through the lower teeth, and use your thumbs to guide the floss through the upper teeth, going gently below the gumline forming a “C” on the side of each tooth.
Spend at least 2 or 3 minutes, at least once a day in order to give your teeth a good flossing.
Brushing your teeth after flossing increases flossing’s effectiveness.
Dental floss is available in a wide variety of forms: waxed and unwaxed, flavoured and unflavoured, wide and regular. We have even seen bacon flavoured floss! Wide floss may be helpful for people with a lot of bridgework, and is usually recommended if the spaces between the teeth are wide. Waxed floss may be easier to slide between tight teeth or tight fillings. Unwaxed floss makes a “squeaky” sound to let you know your teeth are clean.
If you are still having difficulty mastering either of these techniques please do not hesitate to ask your dentist or hygienist for a demonstration at your next dental visit.
Yours for better dental health,
Dr. Arvind Kataria D.D.S.