Flossing seems to help prevent gum disease, and researchers have linked the bacteria that ride along with periodontitis (the official name for gum disease) to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, some cancers, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Most dentist recommend twice a day so the frequency is something you can start on. What else?
- YOU’RE NOT FLOSSING AT THE RIGHT TIME
Flossing is an integral part of oral hygiene because brushing does not remove all particles of food and plaque on its own. Saliva flow decreases when one sleeps, so food material left on the teeth overnight have a great chance of starting a bacterial breakdown process or causing gum inflammation. For that reason, you should make sure you floss before bed to remove bacteria and food particles.
2. YOU’RE NOT FLOSSING THE WHOLE TOOTH
You have to wrap the side surface of the tooth with the floss and use the strand as a tool to clean the entire area, not just between the teeth. You’ll want to contour the floss around the tooth in a C shape and slide it up and down, making sure you rub the back of the tooth as well. The string should also be carried below the gumline two to three millimetres to remove bacteria.
3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB.
Dental floss comes in many varieties. Which type of floss is best for you depends on your preferences, the amount of space in between your teeth, and whether you have braces or bridges.
Some dental floss is easier to use in wider spaces, whereas other types of floss are easier to use in tighter spaces.
Different types of dental floss include:
- Dental tape. This type of dental floss is broader and flat like a ribbon, making it easier to handle if you have braces, gaps, or large spaces in between your teeth.
- Standard floss. This is a thin, nylon strand that can fit in between teeth. It comes flavored or unflavored as well as waxed or unwaxed. If your teeth are crowded or closer together, dental floss with a wax coating can make it easier to get in between them.
- Super flosses. This dental floss threader can work with braces, bridges, and gaps. It has three components: a stiffened end for flossing underneath appliances, spongy floss to clean around your appliances, and regular floss to eliminate plaque underneath your gumline.
4. STOP THE BLEEDING.
Healthy gums won’t bleed. The best way to stop gums from bleeding is to floss daily for a week or two. Typically, this is enough time for most. If it doesn’t then better see your dentist.
5. MAKE IT FUN!
Leave it off the “to do” list by combining with other habits. Then it doesn’t feel like “extra.” Flossing in the shower is our personal favorite. Or floss before you brush. It only takes a couple of minutes. If you want reminders, sign up below.
Keep that mouth fresh!
Check out my related post: Why do we use straws?