Life is busy and finding time to floss every day is tough, but daily flossing is crucial to maintaining oral health. Not only does flossing remove harmful bacteria and strengthen gums, it also protects your smile and helps prevent cavities.
The cracks between your teeth are the perfect environment for bad breath and disease-causing tartar and plaque. Left unchecked, the gums can become inflamed, leading to gum disease and potentially even losing your teeth.
Here are some flossing tools to help make the process less of a chore.
Dental floss is a thin thread which you can use between your teeth to help remove plaque and stuck food. Floss helps you reach the tough spots inaccessible by your toothbrush alone. While regular floss works great, advances in floss make keeping your teeth clean more fun. At our practice, floss comes in yummy flavours, such as strawberry, coconut, vanilla bean, orange, peppermint, and mint. Patients get a free floss with every dental checkup and cleaning.
Floss picks are little plastic picks with a short floss string attached between them. Some people find it easier to get inside the mouth and maneuver between each tooth using floss sticks instead of regular floss. Floss picks are especially great for children, who often lack the dexterity necessary to use traditional floss effectively.
A 2004 study found floss picks are just as effective at promoting gum health as traditional dental floss when used regularly and correctly.1 In this study, researchers found similarly reduced plaque scores with no significant difference between those who used regular floss and those who used floss picks.
Water flossers are a more recent invention, with Waterpik being the most recognizable brand. Water flossers, another interdental cleaning device, clean between the teeth and below the gum line. They use pulsating water to remove food debris and plaque. Clinical studies of Waterpik found it was “up to 50 per cent more effective for reducing gingivitis and up to 29 per cent more effective at removing plaque as compared to string floss.”2,3
Brush twice and floss at least once daily. Make flossing part of your regular routine and you’ll notice a big difference next time you’re in for your checkup and cleaning!
- Dr. William Chin
About Dr. William Chin
Dr. William Chin is a general dentist and the owner of Norwood Dental Centre. He is committed to providing caring, quality dental care that meets individual needs and budgets. Learn more about Norwood Dental Centre at www.norwood-dental.ca.
Norwood Dental Centre is accepting new patients! Call us at 780-474-2456 to schedule an appointment today. We’d love to welcome you to our practice!
1 W Lewis, Maurice & Holder-Ballard, Cassandra & J Selders, Robert & Scarbecz, Mark & G Johnson, Howard & W Turner, Edgar. (2004). Comparison of the Use of a Toothpick Holder to Dental Floss in Improvement of Gingival Health in Humans. Journal of Periodontology. 75. 551-6. 10.1902/jop.2004.75.4.551.
2 Goyal CR, et al. J Clin Dent. (2013). Comparison of Two Interdental Devices on the Reduction of Plaque. Study conducted at BioSci Research Canada Ltd.; Mississauga, Ontario.
3 Barnes CM, et al. J Clin Dent. (2005). Comparison of Irrigation to Floss as an Adjunct to Toothbrushing: Effect on Bleeding, Gingivitis, and Supragingival Plaque. Study conducted at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre, College of Dentistry; Lincoln, Nebraska.