So what do patients have against floss? I wish I knew! I ask many patients if they floss regularly – “yes” they reply “usually once a week” – ok – so how often do you brush? I ask – “well, twice a day of course”. I can never understand why this is acceptable to patients and why they never see this inconsistency.
The most important part about flossing is to do it. At least once Every Day! Find a time that you can set aside to do the job properly. Ideally it should be done before brushing your teeth. If used properly floss (or tape) is the most effective way of cleaning between teeth and will clean away the plaque that causes gum disease. Brushing alone cannot do this as bristles do not go between teeth. Interdental cleaning is of huge importance as brushing alone will only remove 60% of the bacteria that cause gum disease. Flossing will remove the other 40%. So by only brushing you are only doing (just over) half the job.
I try to bring flossing into the routine of youngsters from about the age of 10 or 12 to get them into good habits early and get them used to handling floss. There are many types of floss – waxed, unwaxed, tape and floss. There are flossettes too which is floss mounted on a stick or handle. The technique can be tricky to master at first but will get easier with practice. Any of the hygienists at 38 would be happy to give flossing lessons. We want patients with healthy mouths. Remember that bleeding gums is not normal and it usually means you have the first signs of gum disease. Flossing will help prevent this and tooth decay too so give it another try, it really is worth it.
From our dental hygienist Gil Le Grys.