Flossing is one of the best things you can do to care for your beautiful smile and good health. Did you know there are many flossing tools available? By flossing along with brushing your teeth twice a day, you help to remove plaque build-up and debris adhering to teeth and gums. Plaque is the bacterial build-up that hardens into calculus within 24-48 hours after it forms. Plus, it keeps bad breath in check!
In addition to helping to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, flossing also lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. And yet, two-thirds of Americans still aren’t flossing daily. We hope to change that by sharing with you the best flossing tools available so you can effectively fight plaque build-up and gingivitis.
Here’s what you need to know about flossing for great oral health:
Types Of Flossing Tools and Options
DENTAL FLOSS helps to remove food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms in those gum and tooth areas before it has a chance to harden into plaque. Traditional dental floss is one of the most effective and easiest tools to use for flossing. Whether you choose waxed or unwaxed, flavored or unflavored, wide or regular size, all floss types help to clean and remove plaque. Unwaxed floss typically squeaks against cleaned teeth, indicating plaque has been removed. Waxed floss helps the floss squeeze between your teeth and most people prefer the feel of it find the waxed version more comfortable. There is no clinical difference in which version will work better, so pick the one that you are more likely to use on a regular basis.
DENTAL TAPE can be of great help for people with wider-than-average space between their teeth. Waxed floss can be easier to slide between closely spaced teeth and can be a better choice for people with bridgework. You may sometimes see dental tape referred to as Wide Floss, they are one in the same.
DENTAL FLOSS THREADER is a flexible piece of plastic designed with a loop at one end for threading the floss in between your teeth and gums. Floss threaders make flossing under fixed bridges and around braces easier and faster. Using a piece of dental floss about 14 to 18 inches long, thread one end of the floss through the loop, leaving one side about half as long as the other, then begin flossing as directed by your dentist.
DENTAL FLOSS PICKS helps to remove food debris and plaque with slim plastic toothpicks that are made with small brush tips to effectively remove buildup. Convenient to keep in your purse or pocket to use between meals and snacks.
DENTAL FLOSS HOLDERS are also called a pre-threaded flosser. One of the most popular flossing tools because it is basically a device to help make it easier to floss your teeth by extending both reach and maneuverability. Dental floss holders are very useful for people with limited dexterity, young ones who are just learning to floss, and caregivers who need to floss someone else’s teeth. But we know lots of adults who use dental floss holders. It’s easier than threading the floss around your fingers and convenient.
DENTAL SOFT PICKS are great for gums and complements flossing perfectly. Dental soft picks may also be sold under the name, interdental picks. These soft pick cleaning aids are just one more way to remove plaque from between the teeth when flossing and brushing may not be convenient – like during the workday or in the middle of a school day. These products include special picks or sticks to get between and around teeth. Like with dental floss holders, people who have trouble handling dental floss may find it easier to use interdental cleaners.
ELECTRONIC FLOSSING, on occasion a dental patient will ask about the new electronic alternatives for flossing their teeth. If you’re wondering about those electronic flossing tools, Dr. O will tell you these tools are not a replacement for traditional flossing, think of it more as a supplement to your regular flossing routine. Beware of the laser-sharp stream of water these tools project — turning up the power to full-blast may damage your gums and cause bleeding. Last note on electronic flossing tools, never use them as a substitute for brushing (and flossing) because they do cannot effectively remove plaque.
Be sure to look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal on floss, interdental cleaners, oral irrigators, mouth rinses, fluoride toothpaste, toothbrushes and any other oral hygiene products you will purchase. The ADA Seal on a dental care product lets you know it has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness. And last, but not least, visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams to keep your teeth and dental health in top shape.