If you had to choose between brushing and flossing your teeth, which one would you choose? In all probability, brushing would be your choice. However, the American Dental Association (ADA) says that flossing is more beneficial, provided it’s done right. They advise on brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, followed by gentle flossing to eliminate the plaque-causing bacteria build-up to settle on the teeth after every meal.
What is Plaque?
Plaque is one of the leading causes of dental diseases. It is not always visible but the coating can soon harden into tough-to-remove tartar that causes tooth decay, if it is not removed on a daily basis. Plaque can harden into tartar in just 24 to 36 hours. Brushing removes plaque from the front and back surfaces of the teeth but flossing removes it from the narrow crevices between your teeth and below the gums – two hard-to-reach spots that commonly cause gingivitis, cavities and tooth diseases.
Floss Types and Techniques
Few are aware of proper flossing techniques and the type of floss that’s best for them. There are two types of floss:
- Nylon (multifilament): Comprises of several strands and can easily move between the sharp edges of the teeth. Available in waxed and unwaxed forms and several flavours.
- PTFE (monofilament): Shred-resistant and more effective for spaces between the teeth.
Wind the floss around both your middle fingers, keeping a couple of inches of space in between. Stretch it between your thumbs and index fingers. Slide it between your teeth and work the floss up and down between the spaces between each tooth gently. Any pressure can bruise the gums, so it’s important to be gentle. Use a clean section of floss each time between each pair of teeth.
Proper flossing not only helps you remove debris and bacteria from crevices that brushes find hard to reach but also helps in other ways. It prevents tartar build-up from the base of the gums, reduces the chances of bacteria infecting the gums, removes bad odour from food trapped between your teeth by dislodging food particles and keeps your breath smelling fresh.
A complete oral care program combines brushing, flossing and regular dental visits for an intensive cleaning. A healthier mouth during dental check-ups requires less intensive cleaning and tooth decay, so the treatment is more comfortable and shorter. Book an appointment at Slipacoff Dental to keep your teeth in top shape. Our friendly, attentive staff ensure you enjoy the highest level of dental care at every visit.