For many reasons, we all know that flossing is extremely important. The majority of gum diseases start between our teeth. That’s why your dentist is so adamant about knowing how regularly you floss. While brushing scrubs the flat surfaces of your teeth really well, it can’t reach the little curved areas between, where your gums overlap the tooth.
Studies have shown that floss picks are just as effective as regular floss, but there are also different kinds of floss picks. Generally, floss picks come in two main shapes: flat and curved. The flat floss picks look sort of like a harp, but are more difficult to use in the back of the mouth, which is why the curved type is a little more effective. Those are the type of floss picks that you should be looking for, because they’re designed to get to all areas of the mouth. The long-handled flosser with the disposable floss tips do a great job of cleaning between the teeth as well.
To use a floss pick, be sure not to force it down between your teeth because it could damage your gums. Use a gentle, sawing motion. Once you’ve GENTLY pushed the floss through the tight contact, pull the string tight against one tooth, and very gently scrape up and down to release the film on the tooth surface. Repeat this with the adjacent tooth before popping the floss pick back out. You may need more than one floss pick per session if your teeth are really close together, because sometimes the string will shred.
Another great aspect of the floss pick is that you can have a few stashed in your purse or briefcase for when you return to the office after lunch. This will cut down on the use of paper clips or other not-designed-for-oral-care tools for getting the food out of your teeth.
The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests flossing for 2 to 3 minutes, and most people floss before bed. You don’t want to overdo the flossing. Just once a day should be the perfect amount. Any more, and you may damage your gums.