Authored by Donna Johnson in Dentistry
Published on 10-11-2009
One of the most expensive types of medical care that you will encounter in your lifetime is dental care. It is therefore very important to always take excellent care of your teeth. Using the proper tools can make this task much easier for you to accomplish. Dental floss is one such tool you should choose carefully.
Along with brushing after every meal, dentists recommend that you floss after each meal as well. Flossing removes particles of food that may become trapped between your teeth. Regular brushing alone can not remove these food particles that can cause bad breath and even tooth decay if they are left in the mouth.
Dental floss is available in waxed and non-waxed versions. The choice you should make here is not so much a matter of personal preference as one of anatomy. Dental floss is flat like a ribbon, and so you may have no issues at all getting it between your teeth, particularly if you have straight teeth. You may choose to use unwaxed floss. However, if you have crooked or crowded teeth, you will likely find waxed floss much easier to use. This is because the wax coating allows it to slide between your teeth with less effort and less shredding of the floss itself.
You can choose to use dental floss that you wrap around your fingers while using. Dental floss dispensers generally have a built-in cutter that you can use to get the amount of floss you need, which is usually about 18 inches per use. Using dental floss this way may be awkward for you, especially on your back teeth. If this is the case, you can buy dental flossers. Dental flossers are plastic items that have floss already threaded into them. Some are disposable and others allow you to change preloaded floss heads, much like you would change the blade in a manual razor.
People with certain dental work or appliances must pay careful attention to flossing. But manual use of floss or use of flossers is not always possible, especially if you have bridgework or braces. If you are one of these people, you can use specialty dental floss that is stiffer on one end to allow you to thread it between your gums and braces or other dental work. There is also a device called a floss threader that helps you to achieve the same result when flossing around dental appliances.
Like toothpaste and mouthwash, dental floss is available in different flavors. You can choose minty or cinnamon-flavored floss to match your toothpaste and mouthwash. Or if you prefer, you can choose unflavored floss. There is no difference in effectiveness among dental floss flavors-this option is strictly personal preference.
Talk to your dentist about any special needs you may have to consider when choosing dental floss. He or she will guide you in choosing the perfect dental floss for your mouth. Whether you have straight or crooked teeth, or a mouthful of metal or none at all, flossing is one of the most important ways to keep your mouth healthy and avoid costly and painful dental repairs later in life.