Have you ever been in a dentist chair when the hygienist recommended that you floss more? Many people don’t floss enough. This could be evidenced by your gums bleeding when the hygienist flosses your teeth. You came out of your routine check-up feeling discomfort. Flossing helps you be proactive with your oral health. The best oral surgeons in Austin believe that flossing isn’t something that you should neglect. It makes a big impact on every aspect of your mouth, and it will serve you well when you need any oral surgery work done in the future. So, here are the best flossing practices that you need to be mindful of.
For many people, flossing isn’t their favorite activity. They don’t understand the value of it. The results of flossing may seem trivial, so they don’t do it unless they really have to. But there is a lot to gain when forming the habit of flossing. Your teeth and gums will be grateful for the extra attention. These are four main reasons why you should regularly floss.
At some point in your life, the odds are that you have experienced food getting uncomfortably stuck between your teeth. Popcorn kernels are especially notorious for this. As you continue to eat, your mouth is left with more food particles. From there, as plaque builds up around your teeth, your nerves are primed for heightened sensitivity. Without flossing, bacteria could eat away at your enamel.
Through your daily flossing, you improve the scent of your breath. This is, in part, because you are getting rid of food particles. Halitosis (also known as bad breath) arises from those residual particles interacting with the bacteria in your mouth. So, think about the bacteria that you are disrupting as you drag floss between your teeth. In addition, you are stimulating the flow of blood to your gums. Flossing is one of the easiest ways to beat bad breath.
Cavities are a real pain to deal with. If you frequently experience dental issues, it is likely because you aren’t staying on top of cleaning your teeth. This is why oral surgeons in Austin recommend developing a strong oral hygiene regimen that includes flossing. In combination with brushing your teeth, you lower your risk of tooth decay. You can prevent your teeth from being dental carriers that contribute to cavities.
When you brush and floss your teeth regularly, you are also less likely to experience gum inflammation. Otherwise known as gingivitis, it is a mild form of periodontal (or gum) disease. You will know that you have gingivitis if your gums are swollen, receding, or tender. Take care of them now so that it doesn’t become a bigger issue in the future. Periodontitis, which is a serious gum infection, won’t arise if you maintain flossing.
As you know, after going too many days without flossing, you can build up plaque and debris. The unwelcome guests of bacteria will then try to go after your nerves. To keep them from bringing you too much discomfort, you need to learn how to floss correctly. Because, yes, the best oral surgeons in Austin find that there are ways to floss incorrectly. If you have an aggressive technique, it could actually damage your gums. So, instead, gently slide the floss between your tooth and gum. Rub the side of the tooth, flossing away from the gum.
The American Dental Association (ADA) says that it is best that you use an interdental cleaner once a day. When, specifically, you should do this depends on your personal schedule. This could be after lunch or before you go to sleep. Similarly, whether you brush or floss first depends on your preference. And one of the most important things to keep in mind is that you should throw away your floss after a single use.
Not every type of floss is going to be the right one for you. All mouths are different. The fact of the matter is, as long as you are regularly flossing, you can’t go wrong with the type you choose. Of course, though, each one does have its pros and cons. Let’s discover which type of floss best fits your needs.
As the name implies, this type of floss comes with a waxed layer. This layer is what prevents the floss from shredding or breaking. It will effortlessly glide between your teeth if they are evenly spaced. However, if some of them are tight or overlapping, the thickness of waxed floss could pose a challenge.
Despite not being as strong as waxed floss, unwaxed floss certainly has its benefits. For instance, because it is thinner, unwaxed floss is more comfortable to move between different types of teeth. If you have tight spaces, you don’t have to worry. That being said, unwaxed floss easily frays without the additional layer.
Oral surgeons in Austin will tell you that, even if you have braces or dental fixtures, you should be flossing in some capacity. Super floss is a great way to do this. It is designed specifically with braces, bridges, and teeth gaps in mind. Its stiff-end threader is great for maneuvering. For those with smaller gaps, though, super floss isn’t as effective.
Often made of polythene fiber or waxed nylon, dental tape differs from dental floss in that it is flatter and stretchier. This allows it to easily pass between your teeth. Its thicker nature keeps it from being for everyone, but it does serve its purpose for those with bigger gaps. These gaps have a need for thicker floss.
Also known as PTFE floss, this type of interdental cleaner is made of the material that is used in high-tech Gore-Tex fabric. It is a patented waterproof fabric that promises durability. This means that, much like with waxed floss, it won’t shred. Plus, it’s even more effective than unwaxed floss in sliding between crowded teeth. Something to be aware of is that many dentists don’t recommend PTFE floss due to its known use of carcinogens.
Traditionally, floss is a long strand of dental string. But you can also purchase floss picks, which offer small strings on a plastic handle. These are perfect for when you are on the go. You can leave a bag of them in the glove compartment of your car, or take a few in your purse when you go out to dinner. Kids also like this option, so you can better teach them how to maintain their flossing skills.
You might find that it isn’t working well for you to go with traditional means of flossing. In this case, you can opt for a dentist-approved interdental cleaner like a Waterpik. These sit on the counter of your bathroom. You fill the container up with water, turn it on, and spray the water across your teeth. The best oral surgeon in Austin may tell you that water flossers are better than regular floss at removing plaque and preventing gingival bleeding.
Approximately the size of an electric toothbrush, air flossers are similarly battery-operated devices. Similar to a water flosser, they don’t involve strings. Instead, they provide bursts of air and micro-droplets of water to blast the debris out from your teeth. Air flossers are less messy than water flossers since they won’t spray if not held correctly. They also take up less space in your bathroom, easy to be stored on your vanity.
Flossing is a great means to prevent tooth pain. You have already learned that it fights against the bacteria that would otherwise be lurking in your mouth, waiting for an entry into your gums. But for as much attention as you pay to flossing, you should do the same for brushing. It is recommended to brush in wide strokes for two minutes. Studies show that you can significantly reduce plaque in this much time, in comparison to the less than one minute average person takes. Oral surgeons in Austin also recommend brushing at least twice a day.
Let’s say that you are doing what you should with flossing and brushing, yet you are still experiencing toothaches. There are plenty of home remedies to prevent your teeth from hurting. Baking soda, for example, mitigates harmful bacteria that cause cavities. Cold compresses can relieve you of pain, as well. This is a good, simple idea for anyone who has tooth trauma. However, if you have any lingering pain, you should quickly consult your dentist.
Dr. Alford is a highly-skilled oral surgeon in Austin, with offices in Lakeway and Bastrop. He specializes in extractions and diseases of the jaw. In particular, Heart of Texas Oral Surgery offers wisdom teeth removal, dental implants, TMJ disorder treatment, and denture preparation. Are you in need of any of these oral or maxillofacial surgery procedures? Request a consultation to gain more information.