Focus on flossing
General Dentist and Cosmetic Dental Services in Edmonton, Alberta
There have been conflicting studies in recent years regarding the importance of flossing. Many people, who probably view flossing as one more unpleasant chore, are now questioning even more whether they need to floss or not.
The truth is, oral health is linked to overall health. Most of us understand that plaque and tartar build-up can lead to gum disease. Having gum disease is sort of like a canary in the coal mine- it can indicate that there is inflammation present in other parts of the body.
If you are unsure whether flossing is valuable, you can do a simple test at home. Brush your teeth, and then floss afterwards and see what comes out. Likely there will be food particles on the floss that brushing left behind. If these particles are left to accumulate, it only makes sense that bacteria will start to grow and plaque will form between the teeth. In this environment, it won’t be long before cavities and gum disease start to form.
Different types of floss
You may go to the toothpaste aisle in your local drugstore and be overwhelmed by the amount of choices available. The good news is that there is no need to spend a lot of money on dental floss. In fact, flossing is one of the cheapest things that you can do for your health!
Basically, there are two major differences between flosses; waxed or unwaxed. If your teeth are close together, or your tend to have bleeding, sensitive gums, then waxed is probably your best bet. The wax coating will help it slide between your teeth with ease.
In recent years, Waterpik and other types of water pressure-based flossers have become available. There are some studies that have shown that these water flossers remove plaque and food particles better than conventional floss, if these aren’t in your budget, take heart. Simply flossing properly with whatever kind of floss you have on hand, at least once every 24 hours, is still infinitely better than not flossing at all.
How to floss
Flossing, while not complicated, needs to be done the right way in order to be most effective. Simply wedging the floss between your teeth and pulling it out may not get out plaque and food debris from underneath the gums. Also, flossing too hastily or rough can cause irritation of the gums. Take your time when flossing! Start with about a foot and a half to two feet of floss and secure the ends around your fingers. Wrap the floss around each tooth in a C shape. Gently guide it between the tooth and gumline, following the curvature of your teeth. Do this with every tooth.
Establishing a habit
The hardest part about flossing is getting started, and keeping at it. It’s easy to flop into bed at the end of a long day and neglect to floss. But unfortunately, even just one day without flossing can give bacteria a chance to build.
We recommend starting your oral hygiene routine early in the evening, when you won’t be too tired. If you aren’t used to flossing daily, commit to doing it every evening for the next month. It can take time to establish a habit, but once you do, it will come as second nature. Your teeth will thank you!