The majority of gum diseases begin between our teeth. This is why we are a bit inquisitive about your flossing habits when you come for your regular visits! Toothbrushing scrubs the flat surfaces of your teeth pretty well, but there are little curved areas between where the point of gum tissue overlaps each tooth that a toothbrush can’t reach to clean. Many people wonder if there are alternatives to wrapping a piece of string around your fingers, and the answer is yes. In fact, it has been shown in this study that floss picks are just as effective as regular flossing.
Generally speaking, 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 we recommend the curved type instead. If you’ll bring your index finger and middle finger into a “peace sign” and then curl them, imagine that there is a piece of floss connected between your two fingers. 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 (Johnson & Johnson Reach Access©) does 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 by biting on it because it could slam into the gum and hurt! Use a gentle, sawing motion. Once the string has popped through the tight contact, it’s time to floss. Pull the string tight against one tooth, and very gently scrape up and down to release the film of germ growth 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.
If you have any other questions about how to care for your teeth, we’d love to hear them. After all, if you’re doing well at home, that means easier visits with us!