Our patients sometimes ask whether there is much difference between floss picks and regular dental floss. At David C. Montez DDS in Pearland, we say that while it’s better to use a floss pick than to not floss at all, we wholeheartedly recommend traditional floss or dental tape for healthy teeth.
A floss pick holds just a small length of floss, stretched in a straight line. But a tooth is rounded or oval, with occasional irregularities. Geometrically, a straight length of floss just doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t conform to the contours of the tooth as well as traditional floss.
By wrapping traditional floss completely around a tooth, you can more effectively clean that vital area around and just below the gumline. And your fingers are much more nimble than a piece of plastic.
We have seen dutiful floss pick users who nevertheless developed decay due to a hairline crack the floss pick missed day after day.
Here is a review on proper flossing:
- Cut a strip of floss about 18 inches long and securely wind each end around your middle fingers.
- Take hold of the floss with your forefinger and thumb leaving about two inches to work with.
- Thread the floss between two teeth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the side of the tooth and move it up and away from the gumline. You want to clean the space between the tooth and gum without pulling more gum tissue away, so it’s important to scrape up and out of the pocket.
- Move the floss around the tooth to clean every surface – especially those that your brush can’t reach. You can use a “shoeshine” method if you like. As you use a section of floss, unwind from one hand to access a clean piece. With 18 inches, you should have enough to provide a clean length for each tooth. If you run out, that’s okay. Just toss the used piece and cut a new piece.
- Some people find it more straightforward to begin on one end of the upper teeth and clean each gap one by one until they reach the end on the opposite side, and then repeat for the lower arch. Whatever method you select, make sure you clean around every tooth, including the back surfaces of the rear molars.
If you have never flossed before, your gums might bleed the first few times. The bleeding may be due to gum inflammation, the beginnings of gum disease. Keep flossing gently and the bleeding ordinarily stops within a week or two.
The team at David C. Montz DDS in Pearland are concerned about the dental health of each of our patients. We provide general and cosmetic dentistry, as well as procedures like teeth whitening and dental implants.
Contact David C. Montz DDS, PA & Associates – Family, Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry:
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