Daily brushing and flossing is your best tool in preventing cavities and gum disease. Brushing cleans the top and sides of your pearly whites, but it cannot reach in between teeth. Flossing however, cleans the crevices between teeth where bacteria hides.
Flossing makes you less susceptible to gingivitis (gum disease) stemming from hardened plaque, in addition to dental caries. Eventually plaque will irritate gum tissue, causing gum sensitivity. Once plaque hardens into a mineral deposit known as tartar it will need to be removed by a dental professional. Finding the right dental floss is a matter of personal choice. What matters is not which floss you use, but that you use it daily!
Oral irrigators have an advantage because they use a pulsating stream of water to remove plaque and food particle debris. This makes oral irrigators helpful for combating gingivitis. Aiming the water stream at the gum line helps to remove particles effectively and gently, and has been considered twice as effective as dental floss at reducing bleeding gums.
Unwaxed vs. Waxed Floss
Unwaxed floss absorbs food particles better than waxed versions and doesn’t catch on the rough edges of chipped teeth, making it less likely to fray or tear. Unwaxed floss is thinner than waxed threads, allowing it to maneuver easily between crowded teeth.
Waxed floss has a Teflon coating which allows it to slide easily between teeth. This makes it an excellent choice for cleaning between tightly spaced teeth. Waxed floss comes in mint and cinnamon flavors to make your breath feel fresh, although some people do not like that the coating is Teflon and adding a chemical in the mouth.
Floss picks are easiest to use for children and older people with limited manual dexterity. They are able to reach the back of the mouth and clean the molars. There is some concern that floss picks are not as effective as string floss because the picks cannot form a C-curve around each tooth with the thread or slide up and down while scrubbing.
Remember, the best floss is the floss you will use every day. If you have any questions about flossing or would like to see one our skilled doctors, give our Vela Dental Centers Crosstown team a call at 361.884.2266 today!