Many dental patients ask us the same question: “Why should I use dental floss?” While there are good reasons for everyone to include using dental floss as part of their daily oral hygiene routine at home, there are some people who would benefit more from using dental floss each day than others.
Here we take a look at the reasons for using dental floss and how to use it correctly so that you get most benefit from using it.
What is dental floss?
You can buy dental floss over the counter at high street chemists and supermarkets. There is quite a range of different types of floss, but mostly they are simply made from a soft thread like material that looks like a long strand of cotton.
Floss comes in various thicknesses and your dentist will be able to advise you about which one would suit your needs the best. If you find that you struggle to use floss, then you could try using dental tape instead. Dental tape is a little thicker than floss and can be a bit easier to handle and manipulate, especially for those with hand-grip problems such as those suffering with arthritic fingers, another alternative for such users is the use of a floss harp.
Why do I need to use dental floss?
Some dental patients can suffer with overcrowded teeth this is where they can overlap with each other. Others can have straight teeth, but they sit very tightly together and don’t have large enough spaces between each of their teeth to allow a regular toothbrush or an interdental brush to get between the teeth.
The space between your teeth and in hard to reach areas for conventional brushing can be a breeding ground for harmful oral bacteria and plaque build-up. Using floss to get into these areas can provide you with a good way of cleaning away the bacteria and reducing the risk of gum disease and cavities developing.
If your dentist is concerned that you are missing areas of your teeth when brushing, they will most likely recommend that you start flossing regularly. If you are unfamiliar with using floss then your dental team will be able to show you how to use floss correctly to get between your teeth.
How do I floss?
While flossing regularly can really help to reduce the build up of plaque and tartar forming between your teeth and along the gum line in hard to reach places, remember not to be too harsh or aggressive when using it. If you put too much pressure on pulling the floss through your teeth or pull it upwards over your gums, you risk damaging your gums and causing inflammation that can lead to gum irritation or even an infection.
The idea is to apply a gentle scraping action down the inside of your teeth from the gums downwards bending the floss around the tooth, and gently pulling through the space to remove it. This will help to remove bacteria and dislodge plaque and tartar build-up that can negatively affect your oral health.
If you don’t floss, or you regularly use dental floss but want to know if you are using it correctly, then do not hesitate to discuss this with your dentist. They will help to make sure you are using the right type of floss in the right way to give you the most benefit.
Routine visits to the dental hygienist are also important as they can demonstrate the best technique for you to use and point out any specific areas of your mouth to focus your cleaning on. Get in touch to book your hygienest appointment today.