Flossing – your #1 defense in minimizing interdental decay!!!
The question your dental professional probably asks you at every dental visit –are you flossing?
The reality is that 85-90% of Canadians have gingivitis, which is directly related to poor oral hygiene, and the lack of flossing. Also, toothbrushes cannot completely remove plaque and other debris that gets lodged between teeth, and thus the lack of flossing also causes interdental decay.
What many people do not realize is that there are several alternatives to the traditional method of flossing – which tends to be the primary deterrent to flossing. While there are alternative methods to flossing, I will begin with the guidelines for the effective traditional flossing technique.
Guidelines For Effective Traditional Flossing
1. Using approximately 18 inches of floss and holding hands 5 inches apart, pinch the floss with your middle finger and thumb and wind the floss around your fingers until there is 2 inches between both hands
2. Carefully glide the floss between the teeth and hold the floss snug around the tooth in a c-shape
3. Carefully glide the floss under the gingiva (gums) until you feel some resistance
4. Using an up and down motion you will remove any debris caught between the teeth
5. Using a clean piece of floss, use steps 1-4 on each tooth surface
Other Floss Aids
Floss handles – All floss handles have a handle, which enables easier dexterity as the fingers do not complete the action of flossing. Some floss handles are disposable and are meant for one time usage and there are some where only the floss is removed and should as such be cleaned thoroughly after use. The proper technique for use of floss handles mimics the traditional technique – the floss is inserted between the teeth, and the floss is pulled in the same ‘c-shape’ and in an up and down motion, manoeuvre the floss beneath the gingiva to remove debris.
Interdental Brushes – These brushes generally have a small handle, with a cylindrical/cone shaped brush on the end. It is meant to be placed in between the teeth to remove debris, or into the sulcus (vertically under the gingiva) to help remove debris trapped in deep periodontal pockets. While this method is effective, you should consult your dental professional and seek the advice as to what size/shape interdental brush is most appropriate for your mouth. [Read more…]