Did you know that 3 out of 4 Americans will choose to go grocery shopping rather than floss? Using a toothpick does not count as flossing. Floss dislodges food between teeth, it scrapes plaque and polishes the tooth. While the toothbrush can clean the crown and sides of the tooth, floss reaches between teeth, where a lot of food gets stuck, and removes smellier bits of plaque. This is why flossing is also very effective at keeping bad breath at bay. Food that gets stuck between teeth rot, create plaque and feed bacteria that causes bad breath in the mouth.
Just as Important as Brushing
Most people skip flossing because it’s more work than brushing. It’s a task that takes more time and needs more skill. However, consider that most cavities occur between the teeth and at the back of the mouth where the toothbrush never touches.
Copping Out with Water Pressure
You can try a water pick or oral irrigator, a comparatively expensive tool that uses water or water and air pressure to flush spaces between the teeth, but floss is still more effective. Not to mention, floss is so much cheaper and disposable.
Waxed Floss, Unwaxed Floss, and Other Products
Both work fine where cleaning is concerned. But if you find that the spaces between your teeth are difficult to get to with regular floss, try the waxed variety. Floss is also sold in different flavors, usually mint. Wide floss or dental tape is difficult for many to handle, but it’s easier to use for those cleaning bridgework. If you don’t like putting your hand in your mouth, there’s a product called a floss holder. A floss holder or a floss handle is a plastic “Y” of “F”, which keeps floss in place to make it easier to push between the teeth. There are disposable and reusable floss holders available on the market.
Best Time of Flossing
The ADA recommends flossing once a day, the time of day is up to you. Choose a time when you have a few leisurely minutes to spare. Flossing, like shaving, is not something to rush because you might hurt yourself. Most will floss either as part of their morning routine or before bedtime routine. Some floss before they brush while other brush first. If you floss first, you will open up the grooves between the teeth and help fluoride toothpaste and whitening toothpaste get between the teeth better. But flossing after brushing is generally easier because it’s less messy and floss goes between teeth more readily.
Whatever floss or flossing routine you choose to use, never reuse floss. It is not recommended because frayed floss is not as effective. Reusing floss pushes in bacteria, distributing it from one tooth to another.