Floss picks vs regular floss? Is one better than the other? While it’s better to use a floss pick than to not floss at all, ordinary dental floss or tape does a superior cleaning job.
A floss pick holds just a small section of floss stretched in a straight line. A typical tooth, however, is rounded with occasional irregularities. A straight length of floss just doesn’t make sense geometrically, since it doesn’t conform to the contours of the tooth.
Used correctly, traditional dental floss or tape does conform to these contours. By wrapping the floss completely around the circumference of the tooth, you can clean the critical area around and just below the gumline much better.
Here is a guide to proper flossing:
- Cut a section of floss about 18 inches long and securely wind each end around your middle fingers.
- Take hold of the floss with your forefinger and thumb leaving about two inches to work with.
- Thread the floss between two teeth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the side of the tooth and move it up and away from the gumline. You want to clean the space between the tooth and gum without pulling more gum tissue away, so it’s important to scrape up and out of the pocket.
- Move the floss around the tooth to clean every surface – especially those that your brush can’t reach. You can use a “shoeshine” method if you like. As you use a section of floss, unwind from one hand to access a clean piece. With 18 inches, you should have enough to provide a clean segment for each tooth. If you run out, that’s okay. Just toss the used piece and cut a new length.
- Some people find it easier to start at one end of the upper teeth and clean each gap one by one until they reach the end on the opposite side, and then repeat for the lower arch. Whatever method you choose, make sure you clean around every tooth, including the back surfaces of the rear molars.
If you have never flossed before, you should. Your gums may bleed the first few times. The bleeding may be due to gum inflammation, the beginnings of gum disease. Stewart & Hull, your Comstock Park dentists, provide a full range of family and cosmetic dentistry.
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