Floss picks vs regular floss? At Sundance Dental & Orthodontics in Farmington NM, our answer is that while it’s better to use a floss pick than to not floss at all, floss picks can only clean a part of the tooth’s surface. For better teeth cleaning, we recommend traditional floss or dental tape. Here’s why:
A floss pick only holds a small piece of floss stretched in a straight line. But a tooth is rounded, with occasional irregularities. A straight section of floss can’t conform to the contours of the tooth as well as traditional floss.
By wrapping traditional floss completely around the circumference of a tooth, you can more effectively clean that important area around and just below the gumline. And your fingers are much more nimble than a piece of plastic.
We have seen patients who are vigilant floss pick users who developed decay due to a a small crack the floss pick missed day after day.
Here is a review 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 firmly 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 section for each tooth. If you run out, that’s okay. Just toss the used piece and cut a new length.
- Some people find it easier to begin 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 settle upon, make sure you clean around every tooth, including the back surfaces of the rear molars.
If you don’t floss much, or at all, your gums might bleed at first. Keep flossing gently and it should stop within a week or two.
Even so, your flossing and brushing should be supplemented with professional teeth cleaning every six months at Sundance Dental & Orthodontics. We have offices in Farmington NM and throughout New Mexico and southern Colorado. Services include family and cosmetic dentistry.
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