You may have heard this piece of advice since you were small: always floss! Well, just how sound is that advice? Do you really need to spend extra time pulling string between your teeth? Here are a few facts about flossing to help you decide for yourself:
Flossing can be an effective form of oral hygiene, as long as it's done correctly. Moreover, there are certain folks, such as people with gaps between their teeth, who can really harness the power of the floss. The floss should help remove bacteria and debris that would be left behind by brushing alone.
If you wear braces or a retainer, regular floss and specialized orthodontic flossing tools can help you get those tricky, hard-to-reach spaces in your mouth.
On the other hand, the research findings concerning flossing are sometimes either inconclusive or just too minimal to indicate that flossing alone can clean your teeth. Several scientific studies on the benefits of flossing have found that the technique is not as powerful as you may have been led to believe.
If you're counting on floss to take care of poor brushing habits, then you should reconsider. Flossing often isn't superbly effective at decreasing your risk of cavities and gum disease, but that doesn't mean you should give it the boot.
Making Flossing More Effective
In a 2006 study that did indicate a positive effect on cavity reduction from flossing, the flossing was performed by a dental hygienist. Many people just aren't flossing the right way, and that can make all the difference when it comes to the effectiveness of flossing.
If you are simply sticking the floss between your teeth and pulling it back out, you could be doing more harm than good. Only a small amount of plaque will be removed, and sensitive gum tissue can become inflamed by the friction created by the floss.
It is best to place the floss between two teeth, forming a curve. Then, slide the curved string up and down. This will dismantle any debris or particles that may have nestled in the space.
Being gentle is the key, because if movements are too rough, the abrasiveness can irritate your gums.
Flossing can be a helpful component of your oral hygiene routine, but you shouldn't rely solely on it. Your local dentist can demonstrate proper flossing techniques for you. Schedule an appointment at a practice like Brookside Dental Associate in your area to learn the most effective manner to floss and to discover the best type of flosser for you.