Speak to an experienced dentist such as Candlewood Dental Centre and they will tell you that no matter how often and how rigorously you brush your teeth, unless you floss too, your dental care is incomplete. This might seem strange to hear as from an early age it was drummed into us how important it was to brush our teeth at least twice a day. Isn’t that enough?
The truth is, unfortunately it is not. Brushing your teeth does a great job of removing plaque and getting your teeth clean where your toothbrush can reach, but the size and shape of toothbrushes mean they can’t reach every part of your teeth and gums. This means that particles of food get missed and become a magnet for plaque and other bacteria.
Think of it this way. Imagine you were building a wall using the square building blocks that young children play with. Let say you build it eight blocks high, by four blocks wide so you would need 32 blocks altogether…exactly the number of teeth most adults have. If you then had the job of cleaning the wall with a brush, it would be easy to reach all the outer surfaces all the way up to the top surface.
The problem you would have is trying to reach the surfaces of all the blocks that are adjacent to each other. It would be almost impossible to clean these and that is the same problem your toothbrush has when you brush your teeth. It can’t reach, and therefore can’t clean, the surfaces where your teeth are closely sat next to each other and thus the plaque remains untouched.
Where this issue becomes serious is if the plaque stays in place for any length of time, it will harden. Once this happens, only by visiting the dentist can it then be removed. Plaque is the number cause of tooth decay so its removal is essential if you do not want rotten teeth or cavities.
This is where flossing comes to the rescue, and allows you to clean all the hard to reach surfaces. Dental floss normally comes rolled up in a plastic dispenser from which you can pull out the amount of floss you think you’ll need. To use the floss, you wrap either end around each index finger and then push the floss between the two teeth you wish to clean. You then gently pull it back, forth, up and down and as you do so the dental floss should remove any food particles stuck there and more crucially the plaque that has built up between your teeth.
One of the most heard comments made by people who floss for the first time is how much ‘stuff’ the floss finds and removes from between their teeth. They are shocked by just how much has built up, even though they regularly brush their teeth.
Dental floss normally comes with a mint flavour but if you shop around you will find there are many other flavours available such as strawberry, cranberry, bubble gum, and believe it or not there are even coffee and bacon flavoured dental flosses on the market.