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Best Flossing Tools

Best Flossing Tools

Flossing is a process that helps remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth and under the gum line, whereas toothbrushes alone cannot.

Plaque is a bacterial biofilm that occurs on the surface of the teeth, it reacts with sugar and an acid is formed that can eat into the teeth, causing cavities. Plaque can also cause inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis and can lead onto bone-destroying periodontitis.

Traditional dental flossing has been around for a long time, however products such as water and air flossing have recently been introduced. This article looks at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Dental Floss

There are two main types of dental floss: multifilament floss (nylon or silk), and monofilament floss (single filament), which are generally made of a type of rubber, plastic, or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

Nylon floss is the most common and comes in all manner of thicknesses and flavours, it can be bought waxed or un-waxed. You can also purchase dental tape, which is basically just a wide flat ribbon of nylon.

Monofilament floss is a newer technology, and since it isn’t a fabric like nylon, it doesn’t rip or tear, glides easily and comes in a variety of flavours.

How to Use

Start by tearing off a piece of floss approximately 45cm in length.
Wrap most of it around each middle finger, only 4 to 5 cm should be free to floss. Use your index fingers and thumbs to hold the floss tight and curve it around the base of each tooth, then slide the floss up and down between each tooth (Do not use a sawing motion as this can cut into the gums). Remember to work the floss around your fingers so that you have a clean section cleaning each tooth.

Dental Floss

Advantages

Inexpensive
Easy to use
Can take anywhere
Effectively removes food particles and plaque
Does not require power
Physically scrapes the tooth to remove plaque

Disadvantages

Unable to reach some areas
Can cause gums to bleed
Can be challenging and time consuming
Gets in the way of dental appliances such as braces

 

Water Floss

Water flossers are also referred to as dental water jets or oral irrigators.

They are hand held powered devices that use a pressurized stream of pulsating water to clean away food particles, bacteria, and plaque between teeth and under the gum line.

Water flossing works well for people who have some difficulty holding dental floss or who have had dental work such as braces where using dental floss in between the teeth can be tricky.

Water flossers also include a number of pressurized settings that you can adjust to your liking.

Water Flosser

 

Advantages

Easy to use
Cleans between tightly spaces teeth
Works well for people with braces, implants, etc
Many tips available for whole family and different uses
Reduction of bleeding of the gums
Reduction of gingivitis
Deeper penetration of gum pockets
Option of adding mouthwash or antibacterial for fresher breath

Disadvantages

Costlier than dental floss
May not remove all plaque
Needs power to operate
Takes up more space than dental floss
Can be messy if not used properly

Air Floss

Whereas water flossers use a stream of water, air flossers use bursts of air, interspersed with micro droplets of water (approximately one teaspoon of water per use).

Air flossers are more portable than water flossers as they are cordless and smaller in size.

This flossing type uses a point and click system, with a guide that directs you along to the spaces between your teeth, once positioned you simply click for a blast of air.

It will clean your entire mouth in around 30 seconds.

Air Flosser

Advantages

Less messy than water flosser
Easy to use
The size of an electric toothbrush
Cordless (uses rechargeable batteries)
No Hose
Entire mouth cleaned in 30 seconds

Disadvantages

Intended for a single user only
Usually more expensive than water flosser
Not as effective at removing large food particles
Not quite as effective at removing plaque

Summary

If flossing is difficult due to braces, crowns, or expensive bridges or you have issues with arthritis of the fingers, etc then it may be worth investing in a water or air flosser. Children might also benefit, as it may entice them into developing better oral habits.

Getting input from your local dentist is always a good idea. It is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each tool to find out which one will provide the most benefit to you.

If you live on the Sunshine Coast (Noosa) and would like to find out more information regarding flossing, or any other oral health questions feel free to give our team at “The Dental Junction” a call on 07 5473 5117 or contact us via the Website.

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