Often, when checking on how our patients' cleaning at home is going, the one thing that tends to let them down is their flossing! Most of us are great with twice daily brushing, but our flossing or in between cleaning can often get left by the wayside in our busy lives.
Which is a real shame, because even with the best brushing technique, bacteria still gets lodged and nests deep in between the teeth, where only floss can reach, causing potentially painful and costly problems like cavities and gum disease to form - and we see many of our patients develop problems in these areas.
How do I floss?
Floss your teeth once a day, using a piece of floss about 30-45 cm long. Wrap around the middle finger of each hand and gently rub the floss up and down against the sides of each tooth, making sure to curve the floss into a 'c' shape to follow the surface of the tooth. Glide the floss underneath the gum, until you meet gentle resistance. This will clean the narrow spaces between the teeth where bacteria like to live.
The gums may bleed a little at first and it may be slightly uncomfortable, but this should pass as the health of the gums improves.
Some flossing tips-
- Have a set time of the day that you floss- this will help you remember to do it
- Set a reminder on your phone if you have a smart phone
- Try using a floss handle if you find using the string floss difficult
- Interproximal brushes (toothpick brushes) can be used in larger gaps or areas where food gets stuck if you find flossing in these areas difficult or ineffective
- Water flossers are another alternative if you find flossing particularly difficult or have gum disease or a lot of bridgework in your mouth- speak to one of our staff about whether a water flosser is right for you.
FLOSS THE TEETH YOU WANT TO KEEP!
If you have any questions about your flossing technique, ask your dentist or hygienist at your next preventive care appointment. We will be on the lookout for any areas you may need to improve on, and will discuss these with you.