Why is flossing important?


Good oral hygiene practices safeguard your teeth against plaque deposits, which lead to dental cavities and gum disease caused by harmful bacteria in plaque. In fact, as your dentist in Plano will tell you, apart from dental and periodontal diseases, plaque bacteria are now known to contribute to many general health problems like heart disease and diabetes. Dental plaque build-up needs to be prevented, primarily by brushing teeth. But brushing alone is not sufficient to remove plaque from all areas of teeth. The American Dental Association recommends flossing all teeth effectively, at least once a day, to complement a brushing regime. While a toothbrush can’t reach the areas in between teeth and below the gum-line, flossing can efficiently clean these areas.

How to floss?

Floss is basically a stretch of specialized nylon thread and comes in different types, varying in thickness, wax coats, flavors and number of filaments making up the floss thread. Choosing the right kind of floss depends on how the teeth are spaced and how much gum tissue is present between teeth. Often, a person will need thicker floss like “superfloss” in some areas of the mouth and a thinner variety where the teeth are closely spaced. Most people find that using dental floss needs some practice, and asking your Plano dentist to help you learn the correct technique goes a long way!

Typically, about 18 inches of floss is removed, and wound around the ring finger, while the thumb and index finger are used to slip an area of floss between teeth, wrap it about a tooth and move it back and forth, starting from beneath the gum line, cleaning one tooth surface. It’s important that the floss is passed beyond the contact areas gently, instead of vigorously snapping, which could injure the gum between teeth. A clean section of floss should be used for each tooth. If the floss is very difficult to pass through the teeth or it frays while doing so, thinner floss may be needed.

What’s a ‘floss pick’?

Many people find it hard to reach many areas of the mouth with floss, especially the molar teeth. The Plano dentist may advise using a “floss pick,” a plastic Y or F-shaped handle in which, a small length of floss can be held between the prongs. You could choose one with an ergonomic, easy-to-hold handle that makes flossing a lot easier! Floss picks also come in a disposable variety. Like electric toothbrushes, you could also consider using a “power flosser,” which has a handle that causes floss to vibrate, making it easier to pass between teeth and also subtly massage the gum area.

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