A lot of patients believe that providing they brush their teeth twice a day and have regular six-month checkups with their dentist, that that is all they need to maintain a healthy smile. Dentists cannot stress enough that proper oral hygiene including flossing, or using an interdental cleaner, is just as imperative to preventing gum disease.
Options for Flossing:
· Dental Floss (there are a variety of flavors)
· Toothpicks or pick at the end of a toothbrush
· Interdental cleaner
· Electronic flossing device
What Can Happen When You Choose Not to Floss
Dentists know that it takes time to properly clean your oral cavity. Proper oral care requires you to brush your teeth for two minutes and then you need to follow with flossing between teeth. Those who tend to forgo this oral care step are putting themselves at a higher risk for gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Those who suffer from periodontal disease are not just putting their oral health at risk, but they are also making themselves more susceptible to heart disease. Bacteria can travel to other parts of the body, including your heart and respiratory tract.
The Proper Technique
If you choose to use the dental floss that comes as a long thread, there is a simple way to use it effectively between your teeth. Pull the floss from the device, wrap it around your index and middle fingers, place it between two teeth and slide it back and forth to remove any stuck food and dental plaque.
If you prefer an interdental cleaner, a small piece of floss attached to two prongs with a handle, it is simply a matter of sliding the floss between the teeth in the same fashion.
Toothpicks, although not as preferable as the previous two, can also be used to help remove any buildup or food that is stuck within the teeth.
Finally, if you feel that you don’t have a lot of time or the effort seems too much, you can purchase an electric flossing device that often includes a water pick.
Regardless of the technique you choose, making the right choice to floss is always the best option. Discuss all the methods with your Ithaca family dentist to help you chose the right one for you.