Flossing is a key part of a great oral health regimen. Ideally, you should be brushing at least 2 or 3 times a day, preferably after meals and snacks, and you should also floss once a day. But many Americans disregard flossing entirely. Only 40% of people floss at least once a day, and about 20% of people never floss. At Southington Dentistry, we believe this needs to change. Learn why you should start flossing today!
Brushing your teeth is a great way to get rid of surface stains, plaque, and bacteria. It also removes the majority of food debris from your mouth. However, you can’t completely eliminate food debris and bacteria just by brushing. (Even with an electric toothbrush!) This is because bacteria like to collect in the gaps, nooks, and crannies between our teeth. Toothbrushes simply cannot reach these areas, so if you don’t floss, you dramatically increase your risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease. To eliminate food debris and bacteria, you must floss. Flossing lets you get into these hard-to-reach areas, and remove bacteria and food particles.
The most commonly recommended method is the “spool” method. Break off about 18 inches of floss, and wind it around the middle fingers of both hands. Then, begin flossing by moving the floss up and down in the gaps between your teeth. You should give each tooth several sweeps with the floss. After one tooth is cleaned, unspool a small amount of floss, moving it from one finger to the other to expose a clean, fresh segment of floss, and continue on to another tooth. Make sure to clean below the gumline, as this is where bacteria tend to collect. Need more help? Check out this YouTube video for a step-by-step guide! If you need more help learning how to floss, we recommend asking your oral hygienist, or Dr. Neil Salesky of Southington Dentistry.
In a word? No! Floss picks use a single “strand” of floss, nestled between a plastic pick. Because they are easy to use, you may think that they are viable alternatives to traditional floss. But this is not the case. The “spooling method” of flossing lets you remove bacteria, and then use a fresh piece of floss to clean the next tooth. But a floss pick uses the same piece of floss for every tooth. This means that you’re probably just going to redistribute oral bacteria between your teeth, rather than remove it entirely.
Again, no. Waterpiks and other “water flossers” use jets of water to clean between your teeth. While they are effective and safe, they are not as good at removing bacteria and food debris as regular flossing. Using a water flosser is certainly better than using nothing at all. But it will be most effective if used alongside a standard flossing regimen.
Brushing, flossing, and seeing a dentist every 6 months is the key to maintaining good oral hygiene. Get the dental care you need from Southington Dentistry. Dr. Neil Salesky’s office serves Plantsville, Wolcott, and the neighboring areas. Contact us today for an appointment at (860) 628-5029, or come to our office at 15 Cornerstone Ct #3A, Plantsville, CT 06479 for a visit.
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