Flossing is one of those habits that a lot of people struggle to bring themselves to do. Something about wrapping the floss and getting between every tooth is just more than they can take. While brushing is a habit that most of us can keep up with without much struggle, flossing can seem like a pain. There are some alternatives for those of us who can’t seem to keep it together. These alternatives are great news for our dentists and us alike. Flossing is essential in protecting our teeth from decay.
The Role Of Floss In The Battle Against Tooth Decay
After we’ve finished eating and put away the dishes, we may think that the meal is over. In our mouths, however, it’s just beginning. Food debris remains between our teeth and in the nooks and crannies of our mouths. It’s this debris that the bacteria that cause tooth decay thrive on. It may seem like a simple brushing and rinse will be enough to clear it away. Unfortunately, some debris will be left behind between your teeth. Flossing is the only surefire way to eliminate this debris.
Flossing should be a standard step in your daily oral hygiene practice. You should brush twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Flossing only needs to happen once, but a second time wouldn’t hurt. Without flossing or one of its alternatives, you’ll be left with food debris in your mouth. This debris can feed bacteria which will build up plaque over time.
Indicators that food debris is getting left behind when you brush regularly are:
- Halitosis, or bad breath
- Gums that are tender or swollen
- Cavities forming between your teeth
If you don’t care for traditional brushing, that’s ok! We’re going to introduce you to a few alternatives that are just as effective.
The time of day that you floss isn’t essential; it’s just necessary to do it. Keeping up with this habit can be a struggle. This point means choosing the same time to do it each day can help. However, it can also be problematic if braces are present or you’re traveling. The American Dental Association has approved the alternatives below.
- Interdental Brush: This is a special toothbrush that is specifically designed to reach between your teeth. They are often seen as less troublesome than floss.
- Water Flossing: This dental tool uses pressurized water to clean debris from between your teeth. You aim the steady stream of water at the spaces between teeth.
- Pre-Threaded Floss: With these handy items, there’s no more reaching between your teeth. Instead, a piece of floss is stretched across a handle. You throw them away after each flossing.
- Soft-Picks by GUM®: This is essentially a soft plastic toothpick you can use to clean between your teeth. They have bristles that add an extra dimension of cleanness.
You may note that we haven’t mentioned mouthwash in this article. Mouthwash is an excellent tool for getting rid of bacteria and fighting bad breath. It doesn’t do anything to help with the debris between your teeth. Speak to your dental provider to find out more.