Although many believe that simply brushing our teeth after every meal is enough to maintain our dental health, this is not always the case. In many instances, dental issues such as cavities or periodontal disease can be prevented with good oral hygiene practices.
This is why dental floss becomes the ideal partner to remove food remnants and prevent bacterial plaque build-up. It’s worth noting that dental floss is made up of a group of plastic or nylon filaments twisted together cylindrically to form a resilient material. The idea is to reach places where the toothbrush doesn’t.
Who should use dental floss?
Generally, everyone should use dental floss as part of their daily oral hygiene routine. In doing so, one achieves a more thorough and effective cleaning. Food remnants and bacteria accumulate in all the spaces between teeth, leading to bacterial plaque.
This accumulation can become more dangerous due to a patient’s unawareness, meaning when they don’t feel discomfort from a tiny piece of food stuck between the teeth. For this reason, using dental floss is crucial for comprehensive oral hygiene and works together to prevent diseases in our mouth.
Steps to properly use dental floss:
Using dental floss can be awkward at first as it requires some practice and technique until we get used to it. So don’t worry, it’s normal for it to take some time initially. It’s essential to understand how to use it to avoid harming your gums.
First, cut a piece of floss around 40-50 cm in length, long enough to handle comfortably. Wind it around the middle finger of each hand, leaving about 5 cm free to work with between your teeth.
Hold the floss firmly between your thumb and index finger. Gently introduce it with lateral pressure against each tooth, never directly on the gums, as this could cause bleeding.
Next, move the floss between the gaps and clean the sides of the teeth. You can also wrap the floss around the base of the tooth to clean the back side. Always use clean floss for each section, winding more onto one middle finger, making it easier to release from one side and gather on the other.
Take your time. Thoroughly go over the back of each tooth and the gaps. This ensures that both the tooth surface and the gum line are clean.
Finally, rinse your mouth well to permanently remove any leftover food and bacterial plaque from the tooth surface. You can do this using a suitable mouthwash to complete your oral hygiene.
Types of dental floss
One of the primary advantages of having a wide range of dental floss options is the ability to choose the one that best fits our teeth. If in deout, seek advice from your dentist and try different types until you find the most suitable and comfortable for you.
Dental Floss or Seda Floss
Its rounded shape allows it to glide more easily between teeth. This type is most suitable for people with little space between their teeth or those that are tightly packed. You can find it waxed or unwaxed, which makes it glide better and be more durable. Furthermore, some come with fluoride for extra protection.
Superfloss is made from silk. Primarily, it’s designed for patients with orthodontics, fixed bridges, or dental prosthetics, among others. For this reason, it has some stiffer sections and some spongy parts. Nonetheless, it can be used by anyone depending on their needs.
Dental tape has a flat and broader surface. It’s designed for people with larger than usual gaps between their teeth. Its flattened shape makes it less harsh on the gums. **Important**: It’s advised not to purchase those containing perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as they are carcinogenic.
Why should we use dental floss
It’s essential to get into the habit of using it as a supplement to our daily tooth brushing because it helps maintain good oral health. Its importance can be summarised as follows:
- It allows us to access the spaces between teeth more effectively than with just a toothbrush, preventing dental plaque build-up.
- By thoroughly removing food remnants, it helps prevent tooth cavities.
- Proper use of dental floss also ensures that plaque is reduced by 40%, decreasing the risk of periodontal disease and gum irritation.
- Using dental floss alongside our daily toothbrush routine ensures total mouth cleanliness, leaving it feeling fresher and cleaner.