We know we are supposed to brush our teeth two times a day. Many of us even do this, for 2 minutes each session, on a consistent basis. We know that brushing removes plaque from teeth, keeping them healthy and strong. But when it comes to flossing, some of us struggle. Let’s review the hows and whys of flossing, as well as introduce some alternatives for those for whom it is difficult.
The fact of the matter is, if you want a healthy mouth preventive dentistry and gum care are key. It’s important to clean between your teeth. Unfortunately, toothbrushes have a hard time cleaning in between teeth. Dental floss, however, can reach places your toothbrush can’t get to–between teeth and behind back molars, for example.
Interdental cleaning prevents plaque build-up between your teeth and along the gum line. If plaque builds up, it can lead to cavities, inflamed gums or even gum disease. The more you know about gum disease the better, because gum disease can hurt your oral health. Advanced gum disease (also called periodontitis) can involve major oral problems, such as tooth loss, persistent bad breath, and bone loss.
If you struggle with traditional flossing, there are alternatives available to you. Your solution may be as simple as using a pre-strung flosser, or floss specially designed for sensitive gums. Or, there are other solutions, such as a specially designed dental pick (NOT a standard wooden toothpick), or a water flosser. These alternative are great for those with shaky hands, arthritis, a sensitive gag reflex or other problem that makes it difficult to floss. Only use interdental cleaners that are especially designed for that purpose.