Posts for tag: Flossing
A couple of years ago the Associated Press published an article claiming the health benefits of flossing remained unproven. The article cited a number of studies that seemed to conclude the evidence for the effectiveness of flossing in helping to prevent dental disease as “weak.”
As you can imagine, dental providers were a bit chagrined while flossers everywhere threw away their dental floss and happily declared their independence from their least favorite hygiene task. It would have seemed the Age of Flossing had gone the way of the dinosaurs.
But, the demise of flossing may have been greatly exaggerated. A new study from the University of North Carolina seems to contradict the findings cited in the AP article. This more recent study looked at dental patients in two groups—those who flossed and those who didn’t—during two periods of five and ten years respectively. The new study found conclusively that the flosser group on average had a lower risk of tooth loss than the non-flossers.
While this is an important finding, it may not completely put the issue to rest. But assuming it does, let’s get to the real issue with flossing: a lot of people don’t like it, for various reasons. It can be time-consuming; it can be messy; and, depending on a person’s physical dexterity, difficult to perform.
On the latter, there are some things you can do to make it a less difficult task. You can use a floss threader, a device that makes it easier to thread the floss through the teeth. You can also switch to an oral irrigator or “water flosser,” a pump device that sprays a fine, pressurized stream of water to break up plaque between teeth and flush most of it away. We can also give you tips and training for flossing with just your fingers and thread.
But whatever you do, don’t give up the habit. It may not be your most favorite hygiene task but most dentists agree it can help keep your teeth healthy for the long-term.
Are you wondering if your flossing techniques are as good as they should be?
Whether you have just started to incorporate flossing into your daily routine or you have been doing it for a while now, it’s always a good idea to take some time to reevaluate how you are flossing. After all, it could mean the difference between a healthy smile and cavities. Our Owings Mills, MD, dentists Dr. Herbert Mendelson and Dr. Harold Mendelson offer up some tips for how to floss most effectively for the cleanest smile.
What is the proper way to floss according to your Owings Mills dentists?
In order to get the most out of your flossing routine, you need to first know how to properly floss your teeth. Remember that when it comes to using floss you don’t want to be stingy. You’ll want to grab at least 18 to 24 inches of floss. Wrap the floss around your pointer or middle fingers and hold the floss tightly between your fingers. Then use your free fingers to hold and move the floss in between teeth.
Remember to be gentle when it comes to flossing. Gums are sensitive and you could cut open or damage your gums if you aren’t careful. Never force floss into or out of spaces between teeth, as this could also damage your teeth.
Firmly but carefully move the floss back and forth between the two teeth to dislodge all food and plaque. You’ll even want to go all the way to the gumline to floss along the gums and teeth. Make sure that you use a clean section of floss for every tooth you clean.
Does the type of floss matter?
Going to your local drugstore to pick up floss can be daunting. There are so many different kinds to choose from. There are different materials, different styles, waxed or unwaxed, and even flavored floss. The kind you choose is really up to you. Those with regular braces will want to look for threader floss, which is easy to thread between and around wires to clean in between teeth.
Do you have questions about flossing? Do you need to schedule your six-month routine visit? Then why not turn to the experts at Mendelson Family Dentistry in Owing Mills, MD, for the proper dental care you deserve? Book an appointment with us today.
Great oral hygiene is built on two principal tasks — daily brushing and flossing. Brushing removes plaque — a thin film of bacteria and food particles — from broad tooth surfaces. Flossing removes plaque between your teeth you can’t reach effectively with brushing. It takes both tasks to get the most disease prevention benefit from your daily cleaning.
Many people, though, have a hard time incorporating the latter of the two into their daily routine. This may be because manual flossing with string seems to require a bit more manual dexterity, although it can be mastered with proper training and practice. Some, though, may not possess the physical ability to adequately floss. It’s also difficult for individuals wearing orthodontic braces or other appliances that cover teeth.
Fortunately, there’s an alternative to string floss: oral irrigation. This method removes plaque from between teeth with pulsating water pressurized by either a handheld or countertop device known as an oral irrigator or water flosser, and emitted through a special nozzle directed at the teeth. Studies have shown it to be an effective means for controlling plaque.
As to you switching to a home water flosser, we’ll be happy to discuss if it’s a good option for you. We can also train you on effective techniques for string flossing if you don’t feel you’re doing it properly.
Whichever method you use, it’s important for you to floss daily to keep plaque under control between your teeth. Along with brushing and regular dental visits, it’s one of the best things you can do to ensure your teeth stay healthy and free of tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.
If you would like more information on flossing, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cleaning Between Your Teeth.”