Flossing is a critical aspect of your oral hygiene routine. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you floss at least once a day, especially after you eat. But what kind should you use? Here, we’ll explain why cleaning between your teeth is important, the positives and negatives of both floss picks and string floss, and which one you should use.
Why should I floss?
There are a great number of reasons why dentists recommend you clean between your teeth every single day:
- Flossing removes plaque, a sticky biofilm of bacteria, from between your teeth and from under your gumline. If it’s not regularly removed, this plaque can produce enamel-damaging acids, irritate your gums, harden into tartar, and lead to serious oral health issues like tooth sensitivity, bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease.
- Removing plaque buildup and food particles can also help prevent tooth discoloration and make your teeth look a lot better and brighter.
- Decreasing food particles and bacteria from between your teeth through flossing can improve your overall health too. Inflammation and infections in the mouth can increase your risk of sepsis and can cause problems with your cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
- Flossing is also an ideal time to take a look at your mouth and check for any abnormalities that might be indicative of serious issues like gum recession, gum disease, oral thrush, and/or mouth cancer.
What are floss picks?
Floss picks are pieces of plastic that hold a single length of floss. They are a little more expensive than traditional string floss, but are easy to grip and may help you access hard-to-reach areas near your molars, especially if you have a small mouth and large hands. However, it’s best to use multiple picks per flossing session to avoid spreading around bacteria and food particles with one pick’s same section of string. Additionally, it can be difficult to fit some picks between teeth that are very close together.
What is string floss?
String floss comes in a small plastic container that contains a long length of floss that you cut into smaller, more manageable pieces. The string must be gripped between the two hands so as to get to the hard-to-reach places in the back of the mouth. Thus, children and seniors with limited dexterity may find this method of flossing difficult. But you have less risk of spreading dislodged particles around since you can use a fresh part of the strand between each set of teeth.
Which type should you use?
Depending on your needs, using either type of floss at least once a day will have positive benefits for your oral health and overall health. When used correctly, there isn’t much difference in their effectiveness of removing plaque and food particles from between teeth. It’s really a matter of personal preference and comes down to what you like better in terms of cost, comfort, and ease of use.
More Dental-Related Questions?
If you have any other questions about how to floss or which type is best for you, contact us today.