Dental and Tooth Flossing

Floss and Tooth Flossing may not be regarded as the most fashionable or desirable part of Modern Dentistry, perhaps because it does take extra effort and dental discipline to do even once a day, but if you take away one piece of information from our extensive SmileSpecialist website, that will benefit you the most if you have teeth, it's to start using Floss (or other between-teeth cleaning tools) once a day from now on - your teeth and gums will benefit!

Flossing and good tooth brushing techniques are essential to maintain one's Teeth, Gums and indeed any Cosmetic Dentistry in good condition, including all Dental Implants, mini tooth Implants, Crowns, Bridges, Lumineers, Ceramic Veneers, Braces, Splints, Precision Dentures, Tooth Bleaching or Teeth Whitening treatments, Cosmetic Bonding, Latest Ceramic Restorations, Smile Profiling, Gum Scaling and Cleanings, Periodontal Plastic Gum Surgery, Root canal treatment and fillings etc, so they don't get new decay/disease and fail prematurely and need replacements early.

Floss is the Dental Secret to Beautiful Smiles

Dental hygiene techniques- Tooth Flossing saves teeth and removes staining!

Removing plaque from between teeth is most important yet often not done well. Most cavities and periodontal diseases begin between the teeth. While brushing is important, the bristles of your brush simply don't reach ALL THE WAY in-between teeth. To keep your gums and teeth healthy, you must remove the plaque between your teeth at least once a day. Unless you have wide-open gaps between your teeth, your toothbrush alone will leave smelly, staining, disease-causing bacteria between your teeth!

But how do you know if you are leaving behind some of the sticky tooth-coloured bacterial plaque that can rot your teeth and cause gum disease, especially between the teeth? One way is to disclose your teeth to stain the plaque with a vegetable dye, like in the picture below:

The dark colour reveals where bacterial plaque has been missed between teeth

It is common for people to miss or leave bacteria between their teeth and at the gumline and of course being creatures of habit, even from childhood, you will miss the same places every day and so deeper gum disease or decay between teeth can occur - disclosing tablets (available at most chemists) chewed thoroughly can stain and reveal the bacterial plaque toothbrushing alone can easily miss, so you can clean better and PREVENT future dental problems and tooth loss.

That's why dentists recommend dental floss usage once a day because toothbrushing alone cannot remove 100% of the Plaque, especially between teeth - but you only need to Floss the Teeth you really want to keep for life. If that's all of them then guess what, you need to Floss all of them once a day and it's NEVER too late to start, well, almost never.

To find out more about Flossing, removing the bacteria that love to grow between your teeth causing bad breath, decay and gum problems and disease, please read below to find out how you can improve YOUR dental health, starting today!

 

Floss stretched between fingers and used vertically between teeth

Copied from © 2000-2010 Smile Specialist® & Tony©

Don't worry about the type of floss. They all work pretty much the same. Lightly waxed or unwaxed is usually preferred, some are even flavoured. The Wind about 18 inches of floss around the middle fingers of each hand, leaving about six inches (15cm) between your hands. Pinch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers and leave about one inch (3cm) in between to clean with.

Gently guide the floss down between the teeth using a side to side motion to get through that first tight contact between the teeth. If your teeth are too tight to floss, or if it catches or tears, let your dentist know about it. These are problems that need to be fixed. If Floss can't be removed vertically once down, you can easily slide it out sideways, but let your Dentist know if there are any difficulties, which may be due to a rough filling or even an early cavity or deeper tartar that needs fixing.

So once between the teeth, pull the floss tightly in a C shape around the side of the tooth and slide it just under the gumline.opied from © 2000-2010 Smile Specialist®

T

Flossing between Teeth where ToothBrushing doesn't reach these Bacteria

Clean that side of the tooth by using a vertical up and down motion, NOT side to side or sewing! Then whilst still between the teeth, press the floss against the other tooth's side, and move it vertically up and down that tooth, rubbing off the plaque and bacteria as you do so.

ALWAYS USE THE FLOSS VERTICALLY AGAINST THE TOOTH SIDE WHEN PAST ANY TIGHT CONTACT POINT.

After pressing the floss against each of the tooth surfaces, then continue with the floss around your Mouth by going to the next tooth space and repeat the process. Wind the floss to a fresh section and gradually work your way around your mouth cleaning both sides of every tooth. If you have problems reaching some areas you may want to use a floss holder(see below).If your gums are infected, they'll bleed when you floss. That's to be expected if you are just beginning to floss. After a week or so of regular flossing, the bleeding should go away. See your dentist if it doesn't or if the spaces between teeth are blocked up.

Now you know why brushing your teeth only is insufficient. Most cavities and periodontal diseases start between the teeth where your toothbrush just can't reach. Unless there are gaps, you must floss too or leave plaque and bacteria behind.If using floss as described above is difficult, there are a number of floss-holding devices that make this easier, especially for those hard to reach areas at the back of the mouth. If you have teeth splinted together to improve their stability or have Bridged teeth carrying missing teeth, you will still need to Floss these as well, but clearly one cannot do this vertically through the bonded joint between teeth, so one has to go underneath - below is a picture using "Super-Floss", which is specifically designed for cleaning under and around such difficult areas too.

 

SuperFloss goes underneath Bridges or Splinted teeth then moves horizontally



Remember - Normal thorough Toothbrushing is required to remove MOST surface Plaque bacteria (90%) from teeth and gums - Floss cleans the rest, including tight areas that most toothbrushes and mouthwashes have little or no effect upon - physically removing the sticky bacterial plaque is ALWAYS the best method to achieve dental health, so Toothbrushing followed by Flossing is the BEST combination!

Sometimes people struggle with ordinary Floss between teeth or even Superfloss under bridges and splinted-teeth, so there are other alternatives at your Pharmacy or Supermarket, ask Your Specialist, Dentist or Hygienist for advice. The picture below shows floss holders that can floss one-handed with, so easier to use, Interdental brushes to clean between teeth where some gum-gaps already exist and other dental cleaning aids too.

Ask Dentist about Various Cleaning tools between teeth

MOUTHWASHES - I'm afraid Mouthwashes are NO SUBSTITUTE for good ToothBrushing AND Flossing together, as much as the advertising hype might try and imply otherwise. Most truly antiseptic mouthwashes have high Alcohol content, which I would advise most people to avoid using daily because alcohol is associated with Oral and Throat cancers and there are better alternatives I feel. If you have a gum infection then you can use other Mouthwashes just for this, like Corsodyl (Chlorhexidine), but these can stain teeth if used for more than a couple of weeks. The main Mouthwash that benefits most people (and is relatively safe) is a Fluoride Mouthwash (NaF) that is alcohol-free, so children can use it as well.

Simple Fluoride Mouthwash is often best for daily use

Always read the label though and ALWAYS ask Your Dentist, Hygienist or Therapist what is best for your particular mouth, as everyone is different. But don't use a Mouthwash instead of Brushing and Flossing together, that will not work!

Getting Healthy and Staying healthy, is the smart way to minimising your future Dental problems and maximising the health and Looks of your Smile. This, however, takes regular effort, a well balanced diet (some treats are allowed!) without too many sugar-attacks (remember the sugar feeds the nasty bacteria well), your cleaning effort and seeing a Dental professional regularly for monitoring , pre-matureadvice, topical Fluoride treatments etc.

DR.KILCOYNE spends most of his time telling patients how to spend less money with him, by keeping existing Teeth and Gums Healthy and should patients have Advanced, Specialist or Cosmetic Dental treatments with the SmileSpecialist® Centre here in Haworth, following our expert advice will make such work last as long as possible and helprematurefailure through Plaque and Bacteria attack, decay and infection, again saving you money and inconvenience in the long run.

 

For Further Dentistry Information, you can use the above website menu or just click-a-link here for Specialist or Advanced aspects of Cosmetic DentistryTooth VeneersTooth WhiteningDental Tooth Implants and smaller Mini-ImplantsDental Ceramic CrownsGum Diseases and Bad BreathRoot Canal treatments or Dental CPD Courses, are just some of the subjects you can learn more about here on our award winning dental website www.smilespecialist.co.uk.

*Dr.Kilcoyne is a UK registered Specialist in Prosthodontics (GDC No.58373) which includes The Functional and Cosmetic Dentistry aspects of Crowns, Dental Implants, Bridges, Veneers, Fillings, Dentures, Bonding etc. Please go to our MAKE an APPOINTMENT page to access his Expertise.

The PLANNING of Treatment Options is just as important as the Quality of Treatment - Dr.Kilcoyne can help you get both right, first time!