Many people see flossing as an optional extra to their brushing regime. In the UK approximately 42 % of adults use just a toothbrush and toothpaste to look after their teeth. 21 % of adults use dental floss regularly, whilst one in three has never flossed their teeth. But this is not something to be taken lightly as the dangers of avoiding flossing are real.
Flossing removes pieces of food and plaque from the places that your toothbrush cannot reach. Plaque contains bacteria that produce acid. This acid attacks the enamel of the teeth, eventually leading to cavities. The bacteria can also inflame the gums causing gingivitis. As well as preventing this flossing polishes the teeth and helps to reduce bad breath.
So we’ve scared you into getting into that attractive floss hanging out of your mouth look. What next?
What type of floss?
There is a myriad of types to choose from, wide, standard, waxed, un-waxed, flavoured, unflavoured. Ask us if you are not sure which type to use.
Waxed floss is recommended for teeth with small gaps as it slides easily between them
Wide floss is also called dental tape and is best for people with large gaps between their teeth.
Un-waxed floss makes it easy to tell when all plaque has been removed as it squeaks when it comes into contact with teeth.
How to floss:
Break off a strip of floss approximately 45 cm long.
Wind it around the middle fingers of each hand.
Hold the floss between your thumb and forefinger, leaving approximately 4 cm between your hands. Pull tight.
Insert the floss between two teeth.
Gently guide the floss backwards and forwards against the teeth using a sawing motion, don’t snap it abruptly.
Hold the floss against the side of the tooth and scrape away from the gum.
Repeat this process for every tooth.
Don’t forget the back of teeth at the back of the mouth!
When to floss?
Evidence suggests that you are more likely to form a habit by flossing after brushing than before.
It is recommended that you floss in the morning after a meal and at night before bed. Before bed is especially important because you are not moving your mouth and therefore saliva around your mouth, which assists in acid and plaque removal from the mouth.
Your gums may bleed at first as you get rid of plaque build up. They should get used to it but if they continue to bleed check with us that you are flossing the right way.
So what are you waiting for, put it on the shopping list now so you have no excuse. Although if flossing really isn’t for you, talk to us and we can discuss some alternative options for cleaning between your teeth.