Dental Floss: Why You Need To Use It & How

Dental Floss: Why You Need To Use It & How

Your teeth need as much love as any other part of your body. And brushing them every day just isn’t enough. Whenever you’re going through your oral hygiene routine, your dental floss should be there. What you can’t see doesn’t mean that it does not exist. Sometimes, you can really feel the discomfort caused by food stuck between your teeth. However, many times, the food particles are so small that you don’t even feel a thing. But they’re there, very present. Initially, you might find dental flossing a bit of a hassle, but once you’ve made it a part of your routine, you’re golden. 

The American Dental Association surveyed the flossing habits of people. It found out that instead of using dental floss to remove food between their teeth, 61% of the respondents used their fingernails, 40% folded paper or cards, 21% cutlery, and 14% safety pins (never do that!), and 7% their strands of hair.

There’s something worse than that: not many people floss their teeth every day. Only 16% said that they floss their teeth at least once a day. Many people refuse to floss because flossing takes too much of their time, is painful, or simply gross. About the gross part, having food stuck between your teeth and smell is much worse and grosser. 

What is Dental Floss? 

Dental floss is a fine piece of thread-like material that can reach the area between your teeth for removing any plaque build-up. When it’s said that dental flossing is as important as brushing your teeth, you shouldn’t think that the two are interchangeable. You need to brush your teeth and floss them. 

Brushing will remove the food particles stuck on the front and back of the teeth. The bristles of many toothbrushes aren’t fine enough to reach the area between the teeth without hurting them. You can accomplish this feat with dental floss, though. The thread can easily move up and down the areas between the teeth while efficiently removing all the food particles.

What Are the Different Types of Dental Flosses? 

Believe it or not, there are different types of dental flosses available in the market. You won’t have much of an excuse to not floss after finding out the kinds of floss that you can use.

Standard Floss

This is the quintessential floss that you see plastered everywhere. A thin nylon thread that comes in a waxed and unwaxed variety. The waxed floss comes with a coating of wax on top of the thread and is generally stronger than unwaxed floss, which is prone to breakage. Waxed floss can also easily slip between the teeth, as it reduces friction.

So, if you have crowded teeth, it is better to use waxed floss. One thing to keep in mind is that a wax floss has an added layer of wax on top of the thread, so it might make it a little difficult for you to get it between your teeth. But once it does, you can easily manoeuvre it around your teeth.

Super Floss

Super flosses usually have stiff ends with a spongy midsection. You take the stiff end and insert it between your teeth and use the different sections of the floss to clean different areas of the teeth. You can use the spongy mid-section to clean your dental appliance. Super floss is the best dental floss for bridges and braces. 

Dental Tape 

Dental tape is broader and flatter than dental floss. It is generally considered a good option for those people who have large gaps between their teeth. 

Floss Holder

Not everyone finds using a standard floss easy or doable. People who have arthritis or are facing any other issue with their hands might find it difficult to twist the thread of the floss around their fingers. It can become difficult to move it up and down between the teeth.

Even children can find it difficult to use standard floss. A floss holder can help you here. A floss holder comes with a small handle that curves at the top and the bottom with a floss thread stretched taut in between.

Electric Dental Floss

There are different types of electric flossers available out there. Electric air and water floss can help remove food particles between your teeth. However, they have some drawbacks. Water flossers aren’t as flexible as standard flosses. They need water and electricity to operate so you can’t just use them anywhere (after having a hearty meal at a restaurant, for instance!). They are, of course, more expensive too. But they can do a good job at removing the plaque build-up if you’re not able to use standard floss. 

Electric air floss also has its cons. When using standard floss, you take the thread right up to the gum pockets and clean them. This might not be possible with an air floss. It might also not remove the food stuck between the teeth that efficiently. Still, using an electric flosser is a better option than not flossing your teeth at all. 

Flavoured Floss

Many people have qualms about using dental floss in the first place. If you find flossing too tedious, you can consider using flavoured floss. Mint flavoured floss can always leave your breath minty fresh, especially in combination with your toothpaste.

How to Choose the Best Dental Floss for Your Teeth? 

Different types of floss are available in the market because not everyone has the same set of teeth. Some people have overcrowded teeth, while others have large gaps between them. Some people wear braces or have dental bridges, which make it difficult for them to use standard floss. If you have overcrowded teeth, go with a standard wax floss as it will work the best for your teeth. Dental tape works best for those who have large gaps between their teeth. Super floss is the best dental floss for people with bridges and braces.

What Is Dental Floss Used For? 

One of the biggest benefits of dental floss is that removing food particles between your teeth stops plaque build-up. This will prevent your teeth from forming cavities. Also, since the thread of the dental floss can reach right up the gum pockets and clean them, it can also prevent gum disease

Another good thing about using dental floss is that the foul smell from decaying food doesn’t come in the way. The stuck food particles can end up giving a very bad smell to your mouth. With a simple strike of a thread, you can take care of it. So, there are many benefits of dental floss, which is why you should never skip doing it.

How To Use Dental Floss? 

There are many ways in which your dental flossing can go wrong. You can end up making your gums bleed, or you might end up doing a pretty bad job of cleaning the area between your teeth. To do it properly, do the following:

  • First of all, wind the floss on the middle or index fingers of your right and left hand. Figuring out the configuration that’s most comfortable for you is important. It’ll make manoeuvring the thread easier for you.
  • Zig-zag the thread up between your teeth, and clean the gum pockets.
  • Curve the thread around the tooth in a c-shape to clean the surface (back and front) and the sides of the teeth.
  • Repeat the same process on the other side of the tooth.
  • Don’t panic if you’re flossing for the first time and your gums start bleeding a little. It might happen because of a lot of reasons, one of them being the wrong technique. You should remember to be gentle but not too gentle when using dental floss.

Many people also ask whether they should brush or floss first. According to the National Health Service (NHS), it is best if you floss your teeth before brushing them. The plaque is dislodged, and the fluoride from the toothpaste will remain between the teeth (a reason why it’s recommended that you spit the toothpaste out and not gargle with water).

Can You Use Dental Floss Every Day?   

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should floss your teeth at least once a day. But this doesn’t mean that you cannot floss more than once. If you have food stuck between your teeth, of course, you shouldn’t wait till before going to bed to remove the food particles.

If you’ve only just had dental treatment, then flossing your teeth is even more important.  Having crowns and veneers means that you need to take even more care of your teeth than before. Dental floss will help keep your teeth clean.

Is Dental Floss Harmful?

One investigation by the Associated Press showed that flossing could damage gums, teeth, and dental work. The tiny tears and wounds can also cause bacteria to enter your bloodstream, which can cause an infection. Flossing might cause some discomfort in the beginning, but done right, you will be doing yourself a favour by flossing every day.

To Conclude 

Dental flossing is as important as brushing your teeth which should be done every day. While many people skip doing it altogether, considering it inconvenient, it is important for healthy gums and teeth. You can experience tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss even. If you’re experiencing this kind of dental problem or just looking to get dental implants, veneers or crowns, make sure to contact us right away. 

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