It’s better to floss with a floss pick than to not floss at all, but it’s important to note that floss picks can only clean a part of the tooth’s surface. The dentists at Almeida & Bell Aesthetic Dental Center, serving the Denver area, recommend traditional floss or dental tape. Here’s why:
A floss pick holds just a small section of floss stretched in a straight line. A straight segment of floss just can’t conform to the contours of a tooth as well as traditional floss. By wrapping the floss completely around a tooth, you can more efficiently clean that vital area around the gum line.
We have had patients who are observant floss pick users who still developed decay, due to a hairline crack the floss pick missed day after day.
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 critical 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 deliver 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 simpler to start at one end of the upper teeth and clean each gap one by one until reaching 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 typically stops within a week or two.
At Almeida & Bell Aeshtetic Dental Center, we provide general dentistry to patients throughout the Denver area. We also provide cosmetic dentistry procedures such as teeth whitening and porcelain veneers. Schedule an appointment today.
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