Remember that brushing and flossing using dental floss are the foundation of good oral hygiene. Moreover, you must also visit your dentist for a professional cleaning twice per year. Some tough plaque buildup can only be removed by your dentist at the dental clinic.
Your dentist would advise you to use interdental brushes in addition to brushing as part of your daily oral health routine once you have permanent teeth. But you may not have enough spaces in between your teeth to use an interdental brush. In such a scenario, flossing can be a useful alternative. You can learn from your dental team how best to clean your teeth.
You might have loads of questions. Should you buy the floss that is ‘super strong’? Should you get the thin floss or the thick one? Is it good to purchase flavored floss? With so many questions, you can have a mental debate with yourself. Hence discussed below are points that are going to clear your confusion and explain the various dental floss types and the right technique to use them.
Correct Flossing Technique Using Dental Floss
If you are flossing every day, it is a good habit and you should continue doing it. But for dental floss to effectively remove food particles from your teeth, you need to use the correct technique. The American Dental Association recommends that you floss your teeth at least once per day and brushing teeth twice per day.
The starting point of all oral diseases is the gum line and between teeth. Daily flossing should be an integral part of your oral health care routine. Flossing teeth would help you to remove the plaque on teeth where your normal toothbrush does not reach.
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association describes the elements of proper flossing technique in four simple steps:
The first step is to wind one end of the 18 inches floss around the middle finger of one hand. At the same time the other end you need to wind onto your second hand’s middle or index finger. In between the two fingers, there should be enough length of floss available. Enough length is required to ensure that you have sufficient clean segment free so that you can move the floss from tooth to tooth. Basically, you need to leave about one or two-inch length free in between. Then use both your thumbs to direct the floss between your upper teeth.
You should keep one to two-inch length of floss taut between your fingers. Next, using your index fingers, guide the floss between your lower teeth.
Once your floss is in position, guide gently between your teeth using a zig-zag motion, be extra cautious not to let the floss snap between your teeth. Especially try to contour the floss around the side of your teeth, making a C shape. Do not glide the floss into your gums, as it could scratch or bruise your gums.
The next crucial step is to slide the floss up and down against the tooth surface. Make sure you floss the backside of each tooth. As you move from one tooth to another, keep unrolling a fresh section of the floss from your finger of one hand. Simultaneously, roll the used floss onto the finger of your other hand. As you continue flossing, you use the unused section of your floss thread. Use your thumb as a guide to control the floss.
Types of Dental Floss
Dental floss comes in many varieties. Choosing a product like dental floss can seem overwhelming. But you cannot go wrong with the floss you choose as you need to use it daily. Learn about the different types of flossing options:
Dental tape is flatter and much broader than standard floss. You can choose either the waxed or unwaxed versions. If you have more space in between your teeth, you will find dental tape to be more comfortable to use compared to standard floss.
Waxed floss is a standard nylon floss that is commonly used. The floss has a thin layer of wax on its surface. This kind of floss is less likely to break. But as the wax-coated floss is slightly thicker, it makes it harder to use in tight spots.
Unwaxed floss is a very thin nylon floss and consists of about 35 strands that are twisted together. It can easily fit into tight spaces between your teeth, especially if your teeth have a very little gap. But on the other hand, it can be prone to shredding or breaking.
Polytetrafluorethylene floss (PTFE) is the same material generally used in the high-tech Gore-Tex fabric. The material can easily slide between your teeth and is less likely to shred.
Super flosses are made from yarn-like material. Meaning they have three components that work together. A regular floss thread, spongy floss, and finally a dental floss threader that has a stiff end. They can be easily used to clean around braces or dental bridges. Super floss allows you to clean the areas around dental fixtures like braces and dental bridges. They also help remove plaque accumulated under the gum line.
The Technique in Easy Steps
This technique of using dental floss applies to any floss you are using, which could be spongy, waxed, unwaxed floss, or even dental tape. As long as you are adhering to the correct technique, there is typically no problem with the type of floss you use. It is mostly a personal preference. The type you choose should meet your needs and those of your family members.
You can start flossing from your upper or lower teeth, or you can start from the back or from the front. You should floss one tooth at a time completely. Also include the backside of your very last tooth on all four ends of your mouth. And also, do not forget to floss under your gum line.
Even if you have any dental restorations like a crown, dentures, or dental implants, you need to floss property. Food particles might get trapped in these spaces. Floss can help you get rid of the excess food particles and plaque-building microorganisms between your teeth. This, in turn, will help to improve your oral health.
If you pair flossing with twice-daily brushing using an electric toothbrush – it can help to remove food particles and plaque from in-between your teeth. The micro-vibrating bristles and rounded brush head will surround each tooth and clean it more thoroughly.
Dental Floss for Effective Plaque Removal
After your meals, tiny food particles are left everywhere in your mouth and on your teeth. Your saliva does a good job of continuously rinsing away a lot of food debris. Some food leftovers stay stuck on your teeth and gums. These particles must be flossed and brushed to get rid of them. Your mouth has millions of natural, harmful bacteria that help to break down the food particles. But over time, if the build-up is not cleaned thoroughly, these bacteria leave behind the plaque, a sticky film that needs to be removed.
Everyone, including your kids, should brush for two minutes, twice a day, and floss once a day to remove these harmful bacteria. These bacteria can do more harm to their baby teeth.
You cautiously need to remove food build-up and plaque from the places in your mouth that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. Slowly these food build-ups can turn into more significant problems leading to further complications. They might cause gum disease, tooth decay, and inflammation.
When should you floss? This is a common question many people ask. You should know that you should floss your teeth once a day as it contributes to good oral health. Some people practice a routine of flossing immediately after brushing their teeth. However, your doctor would recommend flossing first and then brush your teeth. Why?
Flossing actually helps to lift and release food and plaque stuck in between your teeth. Followed by brushing can remove these food particles from your mouth. If you do the reverse, brush first and floss afterward, all the food particles remain until the next time you brush.
Dental Floss Different Devices
1 Using an Electric Flosser
If you have a tough time manipulating a standard floss, electric flosses could be a good option for you. Electric flossers come with special handles, and some come with angled heads to make the floss reach the back of your teeth.
The basic flossing techniques remain exactly the same if you choose to use an electric flosser. You should guide and glide the floss gently into place. Then gently move the dental flosser back and forth creating a zig-zag motion. Do you have trouble reaching the back of your teeth? Some flossers even come with angled handles that can make it easier to reach those tricky spots.
2 Using a Hand-held Flosser
If you are using a hand-held flosser, the flossing technique is just the same. You should hold your flosser handle firmly and place the flossing tip at an angle on the teeth you want to floss.
Gently guide the dental floss between your two teeth. You need to make sure, and be sure not to pop or snap the floss. Use the same zig-zag motion that you generally use with standard floss. Maneuver and bend the floss around each tooth and clean all the sides of your teeth, including your gum line.
3 Flossing Around Dental Work
If you wear dental appliances like braces, proper flossing technique becomes all the more important to avoid getting floss caught on the wires or brackets. In such cases, you can use special orthodontic floss. In such cases they have a stiff end that you can use to clean under the main wire on your braces.
Or you can purchase a floss threader. Floss threads work with any floss thread and can be reused. It is a flexible device that you can use to floss your teeth.
You need to be extra careful as poor flossing techniques can result in major complications, and hence you need to be extra careful. Your should also be extra careful if you have sensitive teeth. Moreover, you should be thorough yet gentle while using an electric flosser.
An electric flosser is a good option if you have dental work or have difficulty flossing by hand. You should know how to use it. You can always ask your dentist to give you a demo if you are uncertain.
If you are looking for a dentist in Dubai, Dr Amal’s clinic could be the best option as they always welcome new patients. You can visit them for all of your dental health requirements.
In addition, proactive oral care would go a long way toward your overall health. And consulting your dentist is equally important as seeing your doctor.