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Flossing on the Go

  September 02, 2018
By Colton Sylvester, Sylvester Family Dental

Have you ever heard the old saying, “brush and floss or be prepared for loss?” Flossing is just as important for your dental health as brushing because brushing only cleans the surface of the teeth, and only flossing can clean the leftover food debris and bacteria that are in between the teeth and below the gum line. If teeth are not cleaned on all surfaces, serious dental problems — including bad breath, yellow teeth, cavities, and even tooth loss — can occur.

The American Dental Association recommends flossing once a day (usually at bedtime) and brushing at least twice per day. Flossing is the best way to get rid of plaque, which is the major source of gum disease, and reduce the chances of developing gingivitis or tooth decay.

Even though it only takes a few minutes to floss, there are a lot of people that do not do it. Some say they forget, others don’t think it’s necessary, many find it difficult to do, and still others say they don’t have time. However, a new generation of flossing gadgets are available for people with different flossing needs. You aren’t limited to the traditional spool of floss. Here are some floss alternatives to try.
  • Floss holders — Dental floss holders help you floss your teeth if you have trouble doing it with floss alone. They work by securing the floss on plastic or wooden holders and are useful if you have trouble flossing with your hands. Dental floss holders are threaded each time and can be used over and over again, but you can also buy disposable flossers that are already pre-threaded.

  • Proxy brushes — These are tiny wires with bristles that come in four sizes of brush heads to fit from the tightest to widest of between - teeth spaces. Tight brush heads are designed to clean the tooth and gum surfaces adjacent to the tight spaces.

  • Floss picks — A dental floss pick is a small, plastic tool with a curved end that holds a piece of dental floss. And there’s a bonus — the other end of a floss pick features a small plastic pick that can be used instead of a wooden toothpick to remove large food particles that can get caught along the gum line or between the teeth.

  • Floss threaders — A floss threader is a flexible, yet rigid plastic tool for passing dental floss under fixed bridgework, behind orthodontic wires, and beneath removable denture retainer bars.

  • WaterPik — you can “floss” with water instead.
It’s usually a good idea to floss first before brushing. The floss removes food particles from the nooks and crannies between your teeth so that your toothbrush can wash it away. It’s fine to floss more than once a day. Many of the floss products allow you to floss discreetly while doing other things like driving or watching TV. Whatever tool you use to floss, some flossing is better than no flossing. The most important thing about cleaning between your teeth is that you do it every day.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, you may contact Dr. Colton Sylvester at 309-662-2833 or Dr. Beth Hagen at 309-662-1612. Sylvester Family Dental provides comprehensive dental care for the entire family. They offer multiple dental services including regular dental check-ups, tooth-colored fillings, restorative dentistry, crowns, veneers, laser dentistry, sealants, mouth guards, and teeth whitening — everything to help contribute to beautiful smiles and better oral health.

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September 02, 2018


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