A look at the importance of proper flossing and the methods you can use to clean between your teeth
Cleaning your teeth should be a journey of exploration. Far too many people rush through the process and never get their teeth as clean as they need to be. To free your mouth of plaque buildup and bacteria, you need to take the time to give your teeth a thorough cleanse at least once per day. You need to focus on each tooth’s surfaces and venture into the hardest-to-reach nooks and crannies. Bacteria love to hide in these tight spaces between the teeth, and it’s where they often do the most damage — cavities and infections usually develop in the darkest, most hidden spaces in your mouth. Fortunately, we have lots of tools available to help reach the space between our teeth and keep them clean and healthy. The key is using them regularly and properly.
Dental floss is the least expensive and most accessible method to clean between our teeth. We can easily carry a pack of floss with us wherever we go, and it’s an item that most people have in their bathroom medicine cabinets.
Dental floss is made from nylon thread and can be round or flat in shape. Some dental floss is flavored, while others are plain. However, the type of dental floss you select isn’t nearly as important as how you use it.
Many people use a “popping” technique. They simply pop the floss between their teeth and pop it back out again. Unfortunately, this does very little to remove bacteria, plaque, and food particles from off the teeth.
Instead, wrap the floss around each tooth at a 180-degree angle and gently move the thread up and down. This will scrape any buildup off the tooth’s surface and remove any debris stuck under the gums. This method is much more time-consuming than the “popping” method, but it is also much more effective.
Flossing brushes are another inexpensive and portable way to keep your teeth clean. Also known as interdental brushes, these devices have a long, thin brush at one end with tiny bristles on it. It can easily squeeze into tight spaces in your mouth and effectively brush away excess bacteria.
To use a flossing brush, simply insert it between your teeth and use an up-and-down motion to sweep your teeth clean.
Although more expensive than other options, a water irrigation system is a highly effective way to clean between your teeth. It uses a steady and forceful stream of water that gently washes away anything stuck in the crevices of your mouth.
Using water to clean between your teeth can also pull out any particles stuck below your gumline. Using a principle of physics called the Venturi effect, the water speeds up as it passes through the narrow openings between your teeth. As this occurs, it creates a suction or vacuum that sucks out any debris and washes it away.
A Waterpik is perhaps the best-known water flossing system. You can keep this device on your bathroom vanity and use it once a day for best results. Another option is ShowerBreeze, and it makes cleaning your teeth in the shower easy. It attaches to your showerhead and turns into a powerful water flosser with the flip of a switch.
Did you know that if you are only brushing your teeth and not flossing regularly that you are leaving at least one-third of your tooth surfaces dirty? Cleaning between your teeth is an absolute must when it comes to practicing effective oral hygiene. Taking care of your teeth not only means having a healthy smile, but it also means keeping both your mouth and your entire body free from harmful bacteria. If you want to have the cleanest mouth possible, you need to dive into the nooks and crannies. You need to take a journey in between!