Here’s a question, followed by commentary, from Hammond Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Provo: Are floss picks as good as regular floss?
While it’s better to use a floss pick than to not floss at all, it’s important to note that floss picks can only clean a part of the tooth’s surface. We recommend using traditional string floss or dental tape. Here’s why:
A floss pick holds just a small piece of floss stretched in a straight line. A straight piece of floss just doesn’t make sense because it can’t wrap around a tooth as well as traditional floss. By wrapping floss completely around a tooth, you clean it more thoroughly and efficiently.
Here is a refresher course on appropriate flossing:
- Cut a section of floss about 18 inches long and securely wind each end around your middle fingers.
- Take hold of the floss with your forefinger and thumb leaving about two inches to work with. Thread the floss between two teeth.
- Hold the floss securely against the side of the tooth and move it up and away from the gumline. You want to clean the space between the tooth and gum without pulling more gum tissue away, so it’s important to scrape up and out of the pocket.
- Move the floss around the tooth to clean every surface—especially those that your brush can’t reach. You can use a “shoeshine” method if you like. As you use a section of floss, unwind from one hand to access a clean piece. With 18 inches, you should have enough to provide a clean piece for each tooth. If you run out, that’s okay. Just toss the used piece and cut a new piece.
- Some people find it smoother to start on one end of the upper teeth and clean each gap one by one until they reach the end on the opposite side, and then repeat for the lower arch. Whatever method you decide on, make sure you clean around every tooth, including the back surfaces of the rear molars.
- If you have never flossed before, your gums might bleed the first few times. The bleeding may be due to gum inflammation, the beginnings of gum disease. Keep flossing gently and the bleeding generally stops within a week or two.
At Hammond Aesthetic & General Dentistry in Provo, we want all our patients to enjoy clean teeth and good dental health. Our services include family and cosmetic dentistry, including clear braces from Invisalign. Call for an appointment today!
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