Our hygienist, Samantha Henly, explains why this should be done on a daily basis.
Some people find the process of using dental floss to be tricky. Some attempt to do this and give up, whilst others either don’t attempt it or are not aware of why they should.
In fact, with only around 20% of us using dental floss to clean between our teeth, overcoming this challenge is probably one of the easiest and most significant ways of improving our oral health.
Why you should floss
The most obvious reason to floss between your teeth is to remove any pieces of food that have become stuck there. Nothing says ‘poor hygiene’ more than walking around with a piece of meat or spinach visibly stuck between your teeth. Whilst this may be immediately embarrassing, it is the least of your problems if you leave pieces of food between your teeth for any length of time. Even picking away the food with your fingers may still leave traces and even the smallest morsel of food will eventually break down, with the residual materials often leading to tooth decay.
The other reason to clean between your teeth is to remove bacteria that collect there. There are many different types of bacteria in our mouths, some good, some bad. Those bad bacteria though can lead to gum disease if not removed. This can have serious consequences. Much bacteria is removed when we brush our teeth, but toothbrushes can’t reach in some of the spaces between our teeth and therefore, dental floss is needed.
How to use floss correctly
At the Cygnet Dental Practice, part of the remit of the dental hygiene team, is to enable our patients to take better care of their oral health themselves. Showing them how to use dental floss is an important part of this and we highly recommend that our Wickford and Rayleigh patients arrange an appointment so that we can show them how to do this.
Many people do make the mistake of using a gentle ‘sawing’ action with floss. You should actually slide it into the gap between your teeth and use a gentle side to side motion to remove bacteria from the gum pockets.
Is flossing sufficient?
Whilst home flossing is essential for healthy gums; on its own, it is not enough. Some bacteria can be especially stubborn to remove and will eventually take on a hardened form. When this happens, you will not be able to remove it yourself and a scale and polish, carried out at our Wickford dentists, will be necessary to help keep your gums in good health. This procedure is straightforward and non invasive. You will not need to have a local anaesthetic and it will greatly enhance the chances of keeping your gums and teeth healthy.
If you don’t use floss, and would like to be shown how, and for general oral health advice, why not book in with our hygienist team by calling the Cygnet Dental Practice on 01268 733078.
Samantha Henly is a dental hygienist with over 14 years experience of dental care (GDC no 134767).