One of the most important things that our doctors at The Maxfac Clinic do during our first consultation visits with our patients is assessing their existing oral hygiene routine and demonstration of an ideal oral hygiene routine. Most of our new patients say they brush once daily, some say twice daily too…. But less than 5% of our new patients say that they have been flossing regularly. Flossing regularly helps to keep those nooks and crannies of your teeth clean that your toothbrush cannot reach. It helps prevent most of the cavities that occur on the proximal surfaces between two teeth, by helping remove plaque, bacteria and food debris.
Flossing takes about three to four minutes and should be done at least once a day. The steps to be followed while flossing are:
Break off about 18 inches of dental floss. Wind most of the floss around the middle finger on one hand, and the rest around the middle finger on the other hand. Grip the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
Keeping about 1.5 to 2 inches of floss between your two index fingers, guide the floss between the contacts of your teeth.
Do not snap the floss onto your gums. Gently guide it between the teeth in a zig–zag motion. When the floss reaches your gum line, curve it against one tooth, making a C shape.
Slide the floss into the space between your gum and tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth in an up-and-down motion. Unwind fresh floss as you progress to the rest of your teeth.
Now that you know the correct way to floss, we are going to help you understand how to choose the right floss for yourself, based on the following criteria:
Thickness of the floss – Go for thicker sizes if have gaps between your teeth. Similarly, in case of tight contacts between your teeth, you may opt for thinner sizes. Go to your nearest dental clinic if you need help choosing the right size.
Waxed or unwaxed – Studies state that there is no statistical difference when you use either waxed or unwaxed floss. Waxed floss just glides better onto the tooth surfaces.
Flavoured floss – Flavoured flosses have no specific advantage over the non-flavoured ones, except that they provide some good taste and smell.
Material of the floss – A dental floss can either be a multifilament type or monofilament type. The multifilament is usually made of nylon, while the monofilament is usually plastic. It is a matter of personal choice as to which one you opt for.
So long as you floss once a day and use the correct flossing technique, the type of floss you use doesn’t matter. In case you find it difficult to floss properly because you are unable to reach the spaces between your back teeth or have reduced manual dexterity, there are some alternatives to the traditional floss. They are as mentioned below:
Floss pick – This is like a mini stick with some floss fixed between two prongs. It is a single use option and cannot be used to clean all your teeth as the floss will break with repeated use. The small stick can be held between your fingers and used to glide the floss on the surfaces between your teeth with great ease.
Floss holder – This option is similar to a floss pick, but gives you the option of re-using the holder and change the floss itself.
Electric flosser – This is a powered tool that creates vibrations to help you floss better. A good option for those with reduced manual dexterity.
Water flosser – This option is a very good way to floss between your teeth without actually using a floss thread. It makes use of a water jet to clean the surfaces between your teeth and gums. We recommend its use for patients with braces and dental implants.
To know more about good oral hygiene practises feel free to consult our doctors at The Maxfac Clinic. We are an advanced dental clinic in Mumbai providing a wide range of preventive and treatment options for your oral care.
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