Flossing Tips to Maintain Oral Health
By Byron J Nordhus D.D.S. on May 17, 2018
In order to maintain healthy teeth and gums, proper oral hygiene is necessary. This includes receiving professional treatments in general dentistry, such as examinations and cleanings. It also involves practicing good hygiene habits at home.
Today, our team at Nordhus Dentistry in Wichita, KS will offer some flossing tips that can help patients enjoy a healthy smile for years to come.
The Importance of Flossing
We have all heard that brushing twice a day and flossing once daily is necessary for optimal oral health. Even so, in a study conducted in 2013, only 50 percent of all Americans reported that they floss daily.
Think of it this way: in addition to the chewing surface, a tooth has four sides: the cheek side, the tongue side, the front side, and the back side. Even if you brush unfailingly twice a day, the surfaces between the teeth are not being cleaned. Therefore, you are only cleaning half of your teeth.
The spaces between the teeth harbor harmful bacteria. If plaque and tartar are not removed routinely, these bacteria can lead to cavities and gum disease.
Water Flossers vs Regular Floss
Many patients ask if water flossers can achieve the same results as regular floss. While a water flosser is an excellent supplemental tool, it does not take the place of regular floss.
In order to remove the biofilm that accumulates on the teeth, physical scrubbing is necessary. The only way to do this is with regular floss. However, water flossers are quite effective for removing large food particles that are caught underneath bridges, in braces, or around other dental appliances.
What Type of Floss to Use
When it comes to choosing a dental floss, there are plenty of options. In most cases, patients can select one that meets their personal needs and preferences.
Many patients use waxed or unwaxed nylon floss. However, those who have tight contacts between the teeth may benefit from a monofilament option, which slides between the teeth with ease.
When choosing floss, it is important to look for a brand that has been ADA-accepted, as these options have been proven safe and effective through trials and testing.
To begin, take a long piece of floss, approximately 18 inches, and wind the ends around your middle fingers. This will allow you to use your thumbs and index fingers to guide the floss.
Place the floss between the teeth, and gently curve it around the base of one tooth. Slide the floss up and down at least seven to 10 times, then repeat the process on the neighboring tooth. Be sure to clean as far into the gum line as you can within your comfort level.
Never force the floss, as it can lead to discomfort and gingival damage. As you move around the mouth, use clean sections of the floss to clean the teeth.
What if I Cannot Use Regular Dental Floss?
Some patients will not be able to use regular dental floss. This could be due to the type of restoration they have, or it could be due to lack of dexterity.
In these cases, alternative options can be used, such as interproximal brushes or dental picks. Your hygienist can help you choose the most appropriate tools for your oral health needs.
Contact Our Practice for More Information
If you would like to learn more about developing an oral hygiene regimen, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, reach out to one of our team members. You can call us at (316) 721-6730 or contact us online anytime.
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“Dr. Nordhus and the whole team are simply amazing. Humble, professional, and always a delight to work with. Highly recommend.” Derek W.