Flossing is a key ingredient in preventing gum disease, cavities, and halitosis. Flossing removes plaque and food debris from between teeth and hard to brush areas. Plaque harbors harmful bacteria that can accumulate and cause cavities, as well as gingivitis. Bacteria that reside in plaque are also responsible for bad breath, so if your breath isn’t as fresh as you’d like after brushing, you have one more reason to floss. Oral health is central to overall health; when your mouth is free from plaque buildup and host to fewer bacteria, you reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and oral cancer.
Types of Floss
Not all floss is created equal. There are four basic types of floss and understanding their differences can help you to choose the right one. Waxed floss tends to be the most popular and contains a smooth coating that allows it to slide into the tight spaces between teeth. Waxed floss is often flavored, making it more pleasant for many people to use, despite the fact that it tends to fray easily. Unwaxed floss is more difficult to maneuver between closely-spaced teeth, but is more absorbent, making it the preferred choice for those concerned about removing as much plaque as possible from between teeth.
Teflon floss is a relative newcomer to the market and is distinctive for its resistance to shredding. Dental tape is a wide and flat type of floss that is most appropriate for those with more space between teeth, or who have dental bridges. Dental tape is less prone to fraying than some other types of floss and less likely to cut into delicate gums.
Common Flossing Mistakes
Only 49 percent of Americans floss at least once a day, and those who do floss daily aren’t necessarily flossing correctly. While floss is a very convenient way to remove food from teeth, its primary purpose is to remove plaque. Therefore, you should be flossing all of your teeth, not just the teeth that have food stuck between them. Another common mistake is failure to floss each tooth individually; simply popping the floss in and out of each space is not effective, you must be sure to slide it against both teeth. Underneath the gumline is the most important area to floss, since it harbors plaque and is rarely reached by a toothbrush. Lastly, remember to apply sufficient pressure when flossing, especially if you haven’t been flossing every day.
Contact Wynnewood Dental
For more tips on complete oral hygiene habits, schedule a dental cleaning with Dr. Thomas DeFinnis at (610)228-4452. Our friendly team of Wynnewood dental professionals will be happy to help you and your family work toward optimal oral health by demonstrating techniques and offering advice. We serve patients from Havertown, Ardmore, Penny Wynne, Wynnewood, and the surrounding communities.