The boring part about flossing is knowing that every dentist and hygienist insists that we ALL should do it! After all, who HASN’T been told at their regular check-up that you need to floss?
BUT Flossing, as any hygienist will tell you, is one of the most difficult things to get their patients to do. Which is such a shame really, as it’s probably the best and most effective way of reducing the need for the dentist and preventing disease. Possibly more so that actually brushing your teeth.
FLOSSING……..WHY? WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? AND HOW?
WHY? Well, we need to floss because bacteria from the food we eat gathers not only behind and in front of teeth, but inbetween them. The stuff that gets wedged between teeth cannot be removed by brushing alone. Flossing helps get rid of the bad bacteria and dental plaque that cause periodontal disease (or gum disease), which is the #1 reason people will lose teeth as they get older. Flossing can also help to reduce gingivitis and halitosis (bad breath).
WHAT? Floss is a long, thin type of string. It is can be made of filaments of plastic (polyethylene, nylon or PTFE) or silk and can be waxed on unwaxed.
WHEN? Flossing is something we should do after every meal and every time we brush our teeth.
WHERE? The obvious answer is…..in the bathroom. But it can be done anywhere. Floss comes in little boxes and also there are now floss pickers. These are small plastics devices that hold a short piece of floss between two prongs, so you don’t have to use a long piece of floss and wind it around your fingers.
HOW? Continuing the ‘where’ answer……..if using floss from a carton, unwind/unroll a piece of floss about 18″ in length and wind it around your fingers,
as shown in the diagram.
Then slide it down between your teeth in a backwards and forwards motion and back up again, being sure to go right down to the gum line and making sure that you don’t snap the floss against your gums.
If you prefer to use floss picks, the following image shows you how to use them.
Either way is good. It is more important that you floss than whether you use picks or single string floss.
Now for the fun stuff…….
Did you know that floss comes in a variety of flavors other than mint?
For instance, how about……..
Coffee, waffle or bacon or,
Or even Pickle, YES! Pickle….
Then of course, there are the other wonderful things you can use floss for apart from cleaning your teeth.
Training vines for climbing plants; slicing cheese, cake and other foods; hanging pictures and ornaments; threading popcorn for decorations; using waxed floss as kindling to start a fire; sew on coat buttons, restringing jewelry; makeshift fishing line; traveling/camping clothesline and many other things.
So, floss can not only safe your life quite literally in helping to avoid serious gum disease and infections, it can also save your life, or at least get you out of some sticky situations when you haven’t got the right tools.
Bottom line is…..FLOSS! FLOSS! FLOSS! If only so you can start a campfire!