Save Your Teeth with Dental Floss

“Flossing is one of the major ways you can care for your teeth,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix dental office. “There is no good substitute for daily plaque removal,” she adds.

Cosmetic_DentistRemoving plaque not only prevents bad breath, it also helps reduce and maybe even prevent inflammation. When inflammation is local, it can be a sign of healing. A cut on the finger that turns red and tender is an indication your body is sending white blood cells to fight the bacteria. When the white cells overcome the infection, inflammation subsides. Good news. When inflammation occurs elsewhere in the body reports the Mayo Clinic, and white cells begin to fight larger areas, the inflammation becomes chronic. Diseases that end in “-itis” indicate inflammation—arthritis, pancreatitis—are problems you may not think about until they show up in a blood test. It’s important to treat inflammation wherever it occurs in your body. Sometimes preventive steps are ones you can easily take—and flossing is the best way to fight gum inflammation before it creates bigger problems like periodontal disease.

What’s the best floss? “The one you use regularly,” says Dr. Ford with a smile. Whatever you will use and use daily is the best floss for you,” she adds.

Dental floss is a non-poros thread-like material that is worked between the teeth to remove plaque. There are many styles, flavors and aids available to help you reach between tight teeth and dental appliances.

If there is not much room between your teeth, a tape-type floss may be best. Tight contacts also may benefit from a waxed floss, to make insertion and the back-and-forth motion more comfortable. Some tapes are made for sensitive gums, they are softer than regular tape. Should you prefer the floss to do the scrubbing, there is a woven tape that has a slightly abrasive surface for a more effective scrubbing action with less hand motion.

Floss comes in both plain and flavors, to give you a choice. There are several mint flavors, depending on brand, and cinnamon flavor as well.

Even if you have limited dexterity or reduced ability to move your fingers, there is help for you. Floss threaders are plastic loops that you run the floss through and then use as a guide to start the floss between your teeth. Similar to needle threaders, but much more flexible and in plastic, floss threaders are convenient for people who have permanent bridges, braces or other appliances.

Floss aides are a bit different than threaders. These handy devices are U-shaped and have a handle, to allow you to floss one-handed. This is convenient if you have balance problems or simply don’t have room in your mouth for your fingers. Floss aides come grouped in packages and have the floss already attached. You simply use one out of the package and discard it when you are done.

“Flossing your teeth is the best action you can take to assure you keep your own teeth,” says Dr. Ford. “Plaque forms quickly and the more often you disturb it, the healthier your whole mouth will be,” she adds.

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