Dental hygiene is a very important part of your personal health. Gum disease not only affects your mouth, but it is linked to numerous other health problems including diabetes, strokes, and heart disease. In addition to getting regular check-ups at your dentist, a daily regimen of brushing and flossing can help you maintain good oral health. In flossing, there are two general types of tools: the dental floss that resembles string, and the floss picks. Here are some tips on how to choose the one that works best for you.
Why is flossing important? Your toothbrush often cannot clean between your teeth effectively. As a result, plaque can build up between the teeth and gum line, and this can result in cavities and gum disease. The dental floss can get between these tight areas and clean out the build-up, thus minimizing the development of plaque. Both the string floss and floss pick are designed for this purpose.
The string dental floss was patented during the 19th century. The first model used silk floss that was packaged in a carrier with a cutter. Today’s floss is made from nylon and other plastic materials. They can be waxed, unwaxed, flavored or unflavored. To floss with this, you pull out around 15 to 18 inches of material, then wind a segment of that around your fingers. You work that segment between two teeth and between the teeth and gum line to clean the build-up. You use a clean section of floss when you move to the next tooth.
This is an effective method that the dental experts teach their patients. However, some people find it awkward to hold the floss properly. It can also be hard to floss the back teeth. It can take a bit of practice before you get comfortable with the technique. This can be particular difficult for young children because they might not have the necessary fine motor skills. Another challenge is that some people use too much pressure when flossing, resulting in bleeding and sore gums.
The floss pick is a newer invention. It is a plastic device that has a curved head where a section of dental floss is secured. The other end of the pick might be shaped like a toothpick that can dislodge large particles of food stuck between your teeth. Floss picks are easier to use because they are easier to hold. Younger kids can use them effectively.
You can get to the back teeth easier, but they are not as effective as string floss when flossing between the teeth and gum line. Also, you should not use the same pick for the whole mouth because you risk transferring bacteria among your teeth. Using multiple picks during one flossing session can become costly over time. It’s less costly with string floss.
So, there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of floss. When you compare the traditional dental floss vs. floss picks, you have to ask yourself which type fits you the best. No matter which one you choose, it is important to follow your flossing routine diligently every time you brush your teeth. Just spending a few extra minutes each time on this very important step will reduce your chances of developing more serious dental problems down the road.
If you liked this article you’ll want to check out our other article: Does Mouthwash Help Prevent Cavities?