I Hate Flossing! Floss Alternatives

As a dentist, I am always advising my patients to floss their teeth meticulously. This is easier said than done, since I don’t floss myself. Most people do not have the patience to brush their teeth meticulously, let alone floss. But there can be other ways which can help in keeping your mouth clean and fresh. Please bear in mind that flossing is the best way to keep your gums healthy and clean. Some patients who have severe gum problems or pockets must floss regularly to prevent further deterioration of their gums. However, for many others who enjoy good gum health, these alternatives may be useful, provided that flossing be carried out at small intervals.

The first is use of water piks, which are small streams of water. The stream can be directed to your gum area and in the pockets to flush out food grains and other particles. However, there is a limitation to it. This method does not do any mechanical cleaning, meaning that those particles which have stuck themselves on the tooth surface won’t come out. Here is where flossing wins hands down.

For most people the problem is that they cannot manipulate the floss as effectively. I have the same problem. Although practice can remedy this issue (but then who wants to?).  Another trendy gadget is the Reach flosser, which are super thin and long tooth brushes that are so tiny they can go in the gum areas. There is no need to manipulate it with the dexterity that is needed in a floss, and the results are as effective.

Flossers are another innovation. These are shaped like small Y-s and have a small string attached in the arms of it. It makes the insertion of the floss easier than the string. It’s also really good for young children to learn flossing when their hand coordination is not as perfect and when they are learning the basics of oral hygiene.

The basic idea is to get to areas around the teeth that are not accessible with the tooth brush. Flossing is particularly important for those who have many caps or crowns in their mouth. The areas around the crowns and bridges are most vulnerable to deposits that can eat away the bone. It is here that floss is the best option for maintenance. Alongside, depending upon the quality of your dental health, a good mouth wash is also essential. Teeth and gums usually never give any problems if they are given the proper cleaning and care on a regular basis.

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