We all, hopefully, brush our teeth twice a day already with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. If you don’t, please start today! But what about floss?
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and our mandate to stay home and social distance to protect the greater population and flatten the curve, I thought we should discuss one way to help prevent cavities from forming during this time. Flossing!
Flossing gets a bad wrap because people don’t want to do it but it is so important to your oral health! When you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35% of your tooth surface area. This allows bacteria to sit between your teeth and grow. As they grow, they start to release acids which weaken the enamel of your teeth causing cavities. It also irritates your gum tissue which over time causes your gums and bones around your teeth to shrink away causing periodontal (gum) disease. The simple solution? Start flossing tonight!
How do you floss properly?
First of all, the best time of day to floss is before you go to sleep. This allows you to remove all of the plaque that built up during the day so that your teeth are clean while you sleep. If that doesn’t work for you, just try to do it once every day to take the plaque off. Anytime of day is better than not at all.
Does the type of floss matter? Yes, to a certain extent. String floss is the best option because you can adapt it to your teeth the best. But, again, any flossing is better than nothing so do you best with what works for you. We can help improve your technique if you ask us at your next appointment.
Now for the technique. Wrap a metre long piece of string floss around your two middle fingers. This lets you use your index fingers and thumbs to maneuver the floss. When you slide the floss between two of your teeth, make sure you are gentle. Once you are through the contact area, you want to hug one of the teeth in a C-shape and slide the floss up and down in a shoe-shine motion, making sure you go below the gums as far as it will go.
Then hug the other tooth in the contact area and repeat.
Pull back through the contact area and switch to a new section of floss. Continue doing this for all of your teeth. And make sure you floss the backside of your farthest back teeth even though they don’t have a contact. Plaque still builds up there and needs to be removed. When you have finished, ball the floss up and throw it in the garbage. Do not flush floss! It is not good for your plumbing.
Let us know how you are doing with your flossing at your next visit. Are you struggling with the technique? Ask us to show you!