|Dr. Alan Wishneff D.D.S.
Restorative Dentistry / Oral Health
February 13, 2016
Many people find flossing their teeth to be a hassle. But it is a very important part in keeping your teeth clean and help to maintain proper dental health. Flossing removes plaque and debris that sticks to the teeth, between the teeth and on the gums. It also helps to polish tooth surfaces and control bad breath. Flossing is the single most important weapon against plaque. In some ways it can be more important than brushing the teeth. If you floss daily, you will increase the chance of keeping the teeth for a lifetime and decrease the chance of getting gum disease. Most people don’t spend enough time flossing and they may be flossing the wrong way.
Best Type of Floss
There are many forms of dental floss. It can be waxed, unwaxed, flavored, unflavored, wide or regular. They can all clean and remove plaque. Wide floss is also known as dental tape. It can be helpful for people with a lot of bridgework and it is recommended if the spaces between the teeth are wide. While waxed floss might be easier to slide between the teeth, unwaxed floss makes a squeaking sound to let you know your teeth are clean. Bonded unwaxed floss does not fray as easily as regular unwaxed floss, but does tear more than waxed floss.
How to Floss
Flossing at least once a day and spending at least two or three minutes doing it is recommended. There are two common methods of flossing, the spool method and the loop method.
The spool method: Take an 18-inch piece of floss and wind the bulk of the floss lightly around the middle finger. (Don’t cut off your finger’s circulation!) Wind the rest of the floss similarly around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger takes up the floss as it becomes unusable. Maneuver the floss between teeth with your index fingers and thumbs. Bring the floss up and down several times forming a “C” shape around the tooth being sure to go below the gum line.
The loop method: This method is suited for children or adults with less nimble hands, poor muscular coordination or arthritis. Take an 18-inch piece of floss and make it into a circle. Tie it securely with three knots. Place all of the fingers, except the thumb, within the loop. Use your index fingers to guide the floss through the lower teeth, and use your thumbs to guide the floss through the upper teeth, going below the gum line forming a “C” on the side of the tooth.
A waterpick should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing the teeth. These can be effective around orthodontic braces that retain food particles in areas that a toothbrush or floss can’t reach. While flossing helps to remove plaque, waterpicks do not. Waterpicks have been recommended for people with gum disease. If you are thinking about using one, talk things over with your dentist. They will know what is best for you.
For more information about this topic or any other dental topic, contact Dr.Wishneff at [email protected] or call (561) 488-3111. Dr. Alan Wishneff is a Boca Raton Dentist dedicated to bringing patients state-of-the-art dental care. As a cosmetic, family and restorative dentist, he helps patients enjoy a natural and healthy smile. He is trained in cosmetic dentistry, including porcelain veneers; advanced cosmetic bonding techniques; oral surgery; medical emergency procedures; advanced crown and bridge; advanced TMJ; implant dentistry; endodontics-root canals: utilization of most advanced dental materials. Dr, Wishneff and staff are dedicated to providing great smiles in Boca Raton for more than 30 years. After more than two decades of practicing dentistry in Boca Raton, Dr. Wishneff is more committed than ever to this community.