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Why Should You Floss Your Teeth?

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dental flossFlossing your teeth every day keeps them healthy, clean and increases your chances of keeping your teeth for life. Floss helps improve your dental hygiene by removing pieces of food which can get stuck between your teeth. If you do not remove these pieces of food they can turn into plaque, the bacteria layer that accumulates between teeth and is hard to remove with a toothbrush.

This bacteria layer sticks to the gums and can cause bad breath and tooth decay if not removed. If left untreated for a period of time it can also develop into gum disease. By flossing your teeth daily, you will improve your oral health and increase the chances of keeping your teeth for a lifetime.

Types Of Floss

There are many types of dental floss available including wide, regular, waxed, unwaxed, flavoured and unflavoured.

The wide variety, sometimes called dental tape is is helpful for people with bridge work. You should use tapes if the gaps between your teeth are wide. All floss removes plaque and cleans teeth in the same way however you will find that waxed floss is easier to slide between tight restorations or close-together teeth. Unwaxed floss squeaks to let you know your teeth are clean. Regular unwaxed floss tends to fray, unlike bonded unwaxed floss which does not fray easily.

What is the Best Technique for Using Dental Floss?

The spool method is one way of using floss. It is suitable for those with flexible fingers. To use this technique, wind floss lightly around the middle finger of one hand and the rest around another. Form a “C” shape around a tooth and move up and down, take care not to hurt gums.

Another way of using floss is in the loop method. This method is suitable for adults with less nimble, maybe arthritic fingers and for children. To use this method you should shape a piece of floss into a circle and tie securely with three knots. Place all of the fingers, except the thumb, within the loop and form a “C” at the side of the tooth using the index fingers as guides. To floss efficiently you should go below the gum-line and use the thumbs to guide the floss up and down.

If you find using floss too difficult then you can discuss with your dentist or dental hygienist the correct technique. Alternatively, if you are still finding the technique difficult, you may benefit from using a dental pick or pre-threaded flosser.

How Long Should You Floss For?

You should spend two or three minutes a day flossing your teeth. Whilst it may seem like a fiddly, time-consuming job, it can significantly improve your dental health.  The process should not be painful so if you experience any discomfort, discuss this with your dentist.

When Should You Floss?

It does not matter if you floss your teeth before or after brushing, as long as you floss once a day. Some people prefer to floss before brushing as it helps the fluoride in your toothpaste reach between your teeth.

Flossing can be relatively time consuming, especially if you are starting out and are not used to the technique. Because of this you should think about the best time of the day to floss – some people prefer to do it in the morning as they are too tired in the evening, whilst others have more time in the evening and prefer to go to bed with clean teeth.

If you would like to find out more about how to improve your dental hygiene or about dental treatments, contact The Berkeley Clinic, dentist in Glasgow, on 0141 564 1900.

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