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
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