Day after day I get the same

Day after day I get the same excuses for not flossing. “My fingers are too big”, “I forget”, “My fingers are too small”, “I’m on a liquid diet”, “My fingers have a mind of their own”, “It hurts my gums”, “My dog ate my floss”. Sound familiar? The bottom line is, if dental and health professionals didn’t think flossing was important; we would stop asking you to do it.

Flossing not only removes food particles but it also and more importantly removes the harmful bacteria and plaque that cause dental disease. Flossing 101 seems to be the key to ending most patient frustrations, unless medical conditions get in the way or the floss is still being fed to the dog. Here are instructions on flossing:

  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Flossing should be done before brushing so the plaque dislodged can be brushed away.
  • A piece of floss appropriate for flossing should be approximately the length between your wrist and elbow.
  • Roll the floss on your middle finger freeing up your index and thumb. The middle finger is longer and can reach farther back.
  • I usually have an inch or two of floss rolled out and I use the thumb and index finger for stability and control.
  • Push and pull the floss against each side of the tooth moving up and down. Like you are rubbing the plaque away along the length of the tooth from the edge down past the gums until it stops.
  • Throw away your floss after use.
  • Flossing is beneficial because:
  • It removes harmful plaque the toothbrush can’t reach
  • Corn on the Cobb and steak won’t dangle from your teeth
  • Gums aren’t tender
  • Less occurrence of infection
  • Dental cleanings are less painful and easier
  • The dental hygienist will love you
  • Gums won’t bleed or bleed less
  • Less cavities between the teeth
  • Better breath

Dental professions do realize some people can’t floss due to arthritis or other functional and/or coordination problems. Let them know and together a plan can be worked out. Here is a list of devices, suggestions or other interdental aids that won’t be as effective but will help:

  • Floss holder
  • Rubber tip
  • Interdental pics
  • Interdental brushes
  • Antimicrobial mouthrinse
  • Seeing the dental hygienist more often

Examine Those Who Examine You

Seeing a new dentist can be an intimidating and a highly anxiety ridden experience. You are not familiar with the office, the doctor or the procedures

Read More

Mouth Sores Reveal More than the Obvious

I can’t tell you how many times I have asked a patient about a sore in their mouth that they were completely unaware of. Everyone gets sores in the mouth, that’s just the nature of the beast.

Read More