Recently, flossing has fallen into disfavor. After an announcement recently that there wasn’t enough evidence for government agencies to recommend flossing, dentists rallied to support the practice.
There are good reasons to floss. You need to clean between your teeth and at the gumline to protect against gum disease and hard-to-restore cavities.But there are also challenges to flossing that mean it may not be the best choice for everyone, or even for most people.
Challenges of Flossing
Flossing has a big PR problem. It’s not entirely undeserved, either. People think flossing is unpleasant. And it can be, especially at first when people’s gums aren’t used to contacting the dental floss. And flossing can be time consuming, especially at first.
Floss is also difficult to use. It can be hard to properly grip the floss and learn how to run it between your teeth and under the gumline to clean effectively. Although flossers and other tools can help with this, they don’t eliminate the problems.
So it’s no wonder that so many people lie to their dentists about flossing. And even those who do floss may be frustrated with the results.
Are There Better Options?
Partly because of disputes about flossing, researchers wanted to determine what was the best way to clean between teeth. Specifically, they wanted to know which approach was best at controlling gum disease. So they looked at 22 studies that compared 10 different approaches to cleaning between teeth:
- No cleaning between teeth (just toothbrush)
- No cleaning between teeth (just a powered toothbrush)
- Powered floss
- Water jet cleaners
- Water jet with powered toothbrush
- Interdental brushes
- Toothpick with detailed instructions on use
- Gum massagers
They looked at how these different techniques affected swelling gums, bleeding gums, and pockets around the teeth.
The best technique for cleaning between teeth was interdental brushes, followed by water jet. But, the good news is that almost all of these techniques for cleaning between teeth reduced gum disease compared to just brushing. The only exception was the toothpick, which didn’t improve gum disease markers. But toothpicks combined with oral hygiene instructions did reduce gum bleeding.
Find the Best Way to Clean Your Teeth
You need to have some way to clean between your teeth. Otherwise, you are likely to suffer gum disease and get cavities in places that are hard to detect and even harder to repair. There are many different options to choose from, so how do you find the one that is best for you?
You have to find an option that:
- Is affordable
- You can use effectively
- You will use
Interdental brushes aren’t more expensive than floss, which is known for being an inexpensive way to clean between teeth. Some people may have difficulty getting them into all the places where they need to clean. Water jet cleaners seem like an expensive investment up front, but if you can manage it, they can pay for themselves in the long run with improved oral health.
Floss remains a good option, but it’s important to make sure you actually do it–and do it right. Our dentists and hygienists are happy to demonstrate proper flossing techniques so you can clean your teeth more effectively.
And, of course, regular checkups and professional cleanings remain a vital part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
If you’re looking for a friendly dental office in Pueblo that can help you keep your teeth and gums healthy, please call (719) 545-1400 today for an appointment at Advantage Dental Group today.