There is no escaping the fact that flossing can seem like a pretty tedious task, especially at the end of a long day when all you want to do is go to bed, so is it really necessary to floss every single day? You probably already know the answer this one, as yes unfortunately it is. Flossing is the only way to reach plaque and food particles that can build up in between the teeth and right down at the gum line.
These are places where a toothbrush can’t reach, but unless the plaque is thoroughly removed from these areas it will begin to harden within just forty eight hours or so.
Hardened plaque is called calculus or tartar, and can only be removed by being scraped away during a professional cleaning at our Leeds surgery. In addition, the contact areas between your teeth account for approximately a third of your tooth surfaces, so by failing to floss you are only cleaning two thirds of your teeth. Failure to clean these areas will greatly increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease Leeds.
What is the Best Way to Floss?
There is definitely a bit of a technique to flossing correctly, and the best way to learn how to do it properly is to ask for a demonstration next time you visit Leeds City Dentalcare. However until then we have put together a quick summary below.
- Use an adequate length of floss, as most people make the mistake of being too stingy. Ideally you need a length of approximately eighteen inches. This means you have enough floss to wind it around your middle fingers.
- There should be an inch or so of floss in between your middle fingers. Slide this length down in between the tooth to just below the gum line. Then hold the floss against the tooth before sliding it back up, as this will help to give maximum coverage.
- Wind the floss onto a fresh section before repeating for each tooth.
- You shouldn’t force the floss in between each tooth as this could damage the gum tissues.
It may well be worth experimenting with a few different types of floss until you find one you are comfortable using, as there are quite a few different kinds on the market including waxed and unwaxed, and nylon flosses. You may even need to buy more than kind to accommodate different members of your household.
I Can’t Get on with Floss, What Can I Do?
Some people simply cannot get on with floss and find it impossible to use, especially if their teeth are particularly crowded and it is tricky to get the floss in between each tooth without it getting stuck. The good news is that there are alternatives, and we strongly recommend you persevere until you find a method you are happy with. The choices include:
Interdental brushes or soft picks. Interdental brushes look a little like tiny Christmas tree shaped brushes, and come in a wide variety of sizes. You may already have been recommended to use them by Dr David Brown, or another dentist at our Leeds Surgery, as they are very good for cleaning around dental implants and underneath bridges. A lot of people who struggle with floss find these much easier to use, and they are pretty effective.
Water flossers, or air flossers. Water flossers use pressurised water to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth. They are very effective and easy to use, and can be a lot quicker than manual flossing. Studies have shown them to be very good at removing the plaque biofilm, and they may be a good choice for anyone with limited dexterity. Air flossers work in a similar way using a combination of air and water. These devices can also be used to deliver medicated mouthwash into pockets around the teeth of people with gum disease. The disadvantage of these flossers is the cost, as they are the most expensive way of flossing.
The main thing is to do something in the way of flossing every day, and to ask our dentist Leeds dental surgery for help and advice if you find this task difficult, or if you think you may not be doing it correctly.