Why floss my teeth when ALL IS WELL!

Written by Dr Amrita Jain

November 28, 2019

Is a floss dance the only thing that comes to your mind?

You must have experienced food sticking between your teeth when you eat anything and suddenly you reach out for a toothpick. Toothpicks might actually harm your teeth. Dental floss is a cord of thin nylon filaments used to remove food and dental plaque from between teeth in areas a toothbrush is unable to reach.

Why floss my teeth when all is well!

You might be thinking why to go through the pains of flossing every day when your teeth are fine. According to a few studies, 45-50% of cavities form between the teeth.

Brushing alone might not help to remove the plaque, food particles that are stuck and debris as the bristles do not reach the intricate areas between the teeth how much ever we try.

Plaque and bacteria mostly tend to lodge in these spaces. The bacteria ferment the sugars and carbohydrates present in the food and release acids causing tooth decay. The debris may also irritate the gums causing redness, pain and burning sensation of the gums.

Cavities present between the teeth may sometimes not be visible to the naked eye and may go unnoticed. Once the bacteria causing tooth decay reaches the inner sensitive layer of the tooth, it may suddenly start hurting. The pain may be a dull or a very excruciating pain making you visit a dentist in an emergency. So flossing daily and using the right technique to floss is very important to avoid cavities and prevent the risk of developing gum infections.

Floss is not just a piece of thread

There are different types of flosses available

Filaments 

The floss is made up of mono or multifilaments of nylon fibers. The multi-filament floss usually tears and frays easily. Hence mono-filament waxed floss should be the ideal choice while choosing a dental floss.

Waxed floss

The floss has a coating of wax on it to ensure easy sliding of the floss between the teeth. 

Unwaxed floss

Unwaxed floss is not coated with wax. The in-out motion while flossing causes friction between the floss and the tooth causing it to tear or break. That is why people prefer using waxed floss.

Thickness

Dental flosses vary in thickness. The wide tape like dental floss often called as the dental tape is flat and easily glides between the teeth. The other type is of thread-like or rope-like which is more in diameter and may be difficult to glide it in tight areas.

Medicated floss

Some flosses may be coated with anti-bacterial agents to prevent any gum infections or gum diseases. Using the medicated flosses also helps to reduce the severity of the gum diseases. Medicated floss is usually helpful in case of frequent bleeding from the gums or maybe sometimes even after gum surgeries.

Fluoride coated floss

Some flosses are also coated with fluoride. Fluoride helps the teeth to become stronger and prevents cavities. Hence its usually recommended to children who are more prone to tooth cavities.

Charcoal coated floss

The first ever charcoal coated floss by BURST is worth giving a try. It is a mint flavoured charcoal coated dental floss that expands between the teeth to clean the hard to reach areas. There is no difference in the technique of flossing but just floss them the right way.

Flavoured floss

In the effort of making floss more fun, some companies have manufactured some crazy dental floss flavours. These are available in strawberry, banana, cupcake, ranch, cranberry, salad, bubblegum, fruit-flavour, pumpkin, lime, grape, cardamon and mint flavoured.

You know you’re an adult when you realize the importance of flossing

Many dentists recommend flossing once all the milk teeth have fallen off and permanent teeth have erupted. Though 2-6 is the recommended age for flossing children’s teeth, they might not be able to floss properly. Using a dental floss in children may cause their gums to bleed and may cause ulcers in their mouths, gum infections, cuts, injuries, etc.

A water jet floss works wonders instead of the floss thread for children as it is very amusing for them to play with and also gives good results. This motivates children to floss daily and have better oral hygiene.

As the child grows, flossing with dental floss can be done under a parent’s supervision. Later the child is all set to floss on his own.

Buying the best floss is important

Many brands of floss are available. You need to pick which suits you the best. Most of the dentists recommend choosing a waxed and wider width floss also called the dental tape. You can keep experimenting with different flavored flosses to keep motivating yourself to floss daily. It doesn’t matter which brand you are using as long as you are flossing every day. Dental floss does have an expiry date. But if the floss is of the flavored type, it may lose its flavoring over a period of time.

Is believing in these myths stopping you from flossing?

MythsHere are some common myths about flossing for which people are not willing to make flossing a part of their daily regime.

I only need to floss when I have food caught in my teeth

Flossing is difficult

Flossing is painful and time-consuming

Flossing makes the gums recede further

I can’t floss because my teeth are tight

I shouldn’t floss because I have braces

It can cause fillings to fall out

Flossing causes spacing between the teeth

Flossing causes bleeding gums and gum infections

Using the right technique of flossing is the key to having good dental health. Smart prevention starts with flossing, so JUST FLOSS IT. 

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  1. Shubham L - Flossing my teeth properly every day, Thank you.

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Dr. Amrita Jain is a practicing dental surgeon since 4 years. She completed her B.D.S in 2016 and was has been a rank holder throughout her course. She suggests “Holistic dentistry is the best dentistry”. Her treatment line follows a conservative pattern which means saving a tooth is of utmost priority and preventing your teeth from getting decayed rather than curing it with a root canal treatment. She inculcates the same while consulting her patients. Apart from her interest in clinical practice, she has developed interest in research and writing over a period of time. She states “It is my clinical experience that motivates me to write and spread dental awareness”. Her articles are well researched with a combination of technical knowledge and clinical experience.
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