We all have something that sits in our medicine cabinets that’s just taking up space. For a lot of us, that’s a package of dental floss. While everyone seems to have a spool of the stuff in their bathrooms most of them go unused, being even years old without being touched. Sure, we might get out the floss to remove a stuck popcorn kernel or something like that, but studies show that over 50 percent of us don’t floss on a regular basis.
At Panama City Smiles we don’t feel encouraged by those numbers. With over 90 percent of people developing cavities during their lives and almost two-thirds ending up with gum disease we really wish more people would floss! If you’re not sure what good flossing does, aside from getting rid of that popcorn kernel, that’s why we’re here today.
Let’s talk about floss, why you should use it, and how to pick the right kind for you!
Does Flossing Really Do Anything?
Some of the most common spots to end up with cavities or the beginnings of gum disease are the spots you can’t see in your mouth – like the spots between your teeth. Plaque bacteria loves to set up shop where you can’t reach it, and those tight spaces are pretty much impossible to reach with a toothbrush.
Flossing is really the only way to reliably remove plaque from between your teeth, and it has to be done every day to be effective. Think about how your mouth feels after not brushing all day and then realize that the same ick is between your teeth too!
Proper Flossing Technique: It’s Key
Think that flossing is just something you’re able to do without thinking about it – think again! There’s a particular way to use floss that gets better results. Even if you’re a regular flosser you might not realize that the right technique is important.
- Pull out an 18-inch piece of floss. Wrap it around your middle fingers, but leave most of the floss on one hand.
- Wrap it until you only have a few inches between your hands. This helps keep it taut and gives you the perfect amount to work with.
- Use a back and forth motion (like you would with a saw) to get the floss between your teeth. Make sure you get down below the gumline and make contact with both teeth.
- After you’re done with flossing one spot wind the floss from hand to hand to expose a clean piece.
Choosing The Right Flossing Product
You might be surprised, but the proper flossing product can make a big difference in terms of how easy and effective flossing is. Hopefully, we can help you pick the right one!
- Nylon thread floss is the most common product. There’s a good chance it’s sitting on your shelf right now! Nylon thread comes in waxed and unwaxed and is ideal for patients with normally spaced teeth. If you find that nylon floss frequently shreds or unravels when flossing you might not have enough space between your teeth for it.
- Monofilament floss is a single strand made of plastic or rubber. It looks like a super thin ribbon and is perfect for getting between tight or crowded teeth. While it is a bit more expensive it can make a huge difference if flossing has been frustrating for you in the past.
- Super floss is a wider, thicker strand of floss that’s great for patients with wide gaps or braces. It allows you to get rid of plaque without spending a lot of time trying to get all the surfaces of your teeth and orthodontic equipment.
- Floss holders are perfect for those who don’t like flossing by hand. They are available in single-use or threadable varieties and make flossing a breeze.
- Electric flossers use a pressurized stream of water to blast plaque away from between your teeth. They’re fast, easy to use and leave your mouth feeling fresh. A great choice if you simply hate to floss!
Flossing Isn’t All The Care You Need!
It’s essential that you floss daily, but for a truly healthy mouth, you need to be seen at Panama City Smiles every six months for an exam and cleaning too! If you’re ready to take control of your oral health don’t wait – make an appointment today!