How do you prevent gum disease and dental caries? One of your biggest challenges is avoiding tooth decay due to oral debris—food particles, bacteria, and plaque that collects on the teeth and around the gum line. Daily brushing and flossing is your best tool in prevention! Brushing your teeth cleans the top and sides, but cannot reach in between teeth.
Dental floss reaches the crevices between teeth where bacteria hides. Flossing makes you less susceptible to gingivitis (gum disease) arising from hardened plaque in addition to dental caries. Eventually plaque will irritate gum tissue, causing gum sensitivity. Once plaque turns into tartar–a hardened mineral deposit–it will need to be removed by your dentist. Finding the right dental floss is a matter of personal choice, and it will only be effective if you take time each day to use it.
Oral Irrigators: Oral irrigators use a pulsating stream of water to remove plaque and food particle debris and allowing them to combat gingivitis. Aiming the stream at the gum line helps to flush particles effectively and gently, making it twice as effective as dental floss at reducing bleeding gums.
Unwaxed vs. Waxed Floss: Unwaxed floss absorbs food particles better than waxed floss. It also doesn’t catch on the rough edges of chipped teeth, making it less likely to fray. Unwaxed floss is thinner than waxed threads, allowing it to maneuver easily between crowded teeth.
Waxed floss has a Teflon coating which allows it to slide easily between teeth. This makes it useful for cleaning tightly spaced teeth. Waxed floss can be found in mint or cinnamon flavors to make your breath feel fresh, although some do not like that the coating is Teflon, adding a chemical in the mouth.
Floss Picks: Floss picks are easy for children and older people with limited manual dexterity, and are able to reach the molars in the back of the mouth. However, floss picks are not as effective as string floss in that picks cannot form a U-curve around each tooth with the thread as it slides up and down while cleaning.
Certainly the “best floss” is the floss you actually use, every single day. If you have any questions about flossing or would like to see Dr. Keven R. Mills, give our dental team a call at 916-791-7227 today!