Is flossing good for your dental health?

Providing you know how to floss we’d say absolutely, alternatively, there are other alternatives to flossing that can help you keep the space between your teeth clean, free from food and help stop the build-up of plaque.

How to floss

It may seem obvious, but most people tend to use a sawing back and forth motion when they floss their teeth which can lead to gum problems. Wrap some floss around the forefinger on each hand a couple of times leaving a good couple of inches in the middle. Forming a c-shape around your tooth with the floss, gently push and pull this up and down the edge of your tooth keeping contact with the tooth. Once you have finished with a tooth, release one end of the floss and gently pull the floss through the gap to avoid flicking debris all over yourself and the mirror.

What if I find flossing difficult?

Some people struggle with flossing, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t clean their teeth properly. There are a number of alternatives to flossing for cleaning the interdental surfaces of your teeth. Your dentist or hygienist will be happy to discuss these with you and help you work out which is best suited based on your needs. Some of these devices include:

Interdental brushes – As the name suggests an interdental brush is used to clean the gaps between your teeth helping to keep these surfaces free from debris and reduce the build-up of plaque. These brushes look like miniature bottle brushes and are available in a range of different sizes. Brushes are reusable if cleaned properly and will help you keep your teeth clean.

Flossette – You’ve probably seen a flossette in the supermarket but never really thought about it. Like a razor with a piece of floss in place of the razor blade, a flossette works in exactly the same way as a piece of floss but negates the hand dexterity needed for using floss correctly.

Water flosser – Whether you love a gadget or are just struggling to master the art of flossing, a water flosser work by producing a jet of water to clean the surface between teeth. Water flossers are simple to use, fast and effective but are on the pricy side compared to plain old floss.

When should you floss?

The best time to floss is in the evening before you go to bed and before you brush your teeth. Flossing can help to remove food debris, plaque and other build-ups prior to going to sleep. You are also likely to do a better job in the evening compared to when you first wake up in the morning. Always brush your teeth after flossing to allow the toothpaste to reach interdental surfaces.

How often should you floss?

Ideally after eating any food that is likely to leave debris in between your teeth such as sweetcorn, red meats, crisps, seeds and popcorn. Failing this you should aim to floss your teeth at least once a day.

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