Dental floss lets you remove the plaque between your teeth that you can’t reach with a toothbrush. That is why it is important to floss every day, preferably before you go to bed.
Dental plaque is an invisible film that sticks to your teeth and builds up day after day. When plaque is not removed daily, it calcifies and leaves a hard deposit called tartar that accumulates over time. The build-up of plaque and tartar can lead to diseases of the gums (gingivitis) and the bones that support your teeth (periodontitis). Tartar can only be removed by cleaning at your dentist’s office.
Sometimes your gums bleed when you first start flossing. If the bleeding doesn’t stop after several days, you should consult your dentist. The first sign of gingivitis is bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth.
It is important to floss even if you wear braces or if your teeth are widely spaced or if you have a fixed bridge. If your teeth are wide enough apart, you can use an interdental toothbrush, which simplifies the task of cleaning between molars.
Types of floss
There are different kinds of floss on the market. Some of their characteristics :
- Material : polyethylene, teflon, nylon, waxed, unwaxed
- Thickness : fine, extra-fine, superfloss
- Shape : round, flattened, ribbon, twisted, multistrand, elastic absorbent foam
- Taste : fruity, minty, fluoride, baking soda
The ABCs of flossing
- Cut off at least 30 cm of floss.
- Roll it around your index fingers, leaving about 5 cm of floss between your hands.
- Slide the floss between your teeth and make a semi-circle below the gum, at the bottom of the tooth.
- Clean both sides of each tooth; always remember to clean the back of your molars, too.
- Repeat until there are no more food particles between your teeth.
The next time you visit your dentist, ask about the best kind of floss for your teeth.