Although adults and children love to skip it, flossing is a very important part of the oral hygiene routine. It removes plaque and bacteria from between the teeth, reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Many people skip flossing because they find it challenging or difficult in some way. This is unwise, since skipping this important step may eventually have severe consequences such as tooth loss and severe periodontitis. Here’s a look at a few common flossing problems and how to solve them, so you can keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Problem: The floss does not fit between your teeth.
If your teeth are very close together, you might have a hard time wedging floss in there, or it may be painful to do so.
Solution: Use thinner floss.
Floss comes in several thicknesses. If the most common, standard floss won’t fit between your teeth because they are so close together, look for “extra thin” floss in your drugstore. If you cannot find thin floss in your area, ask your dentist to recommend a place that carries it. He or she may even have some samples to give you.
Problem: The floss frays between your teeth.
When floss frays between your teeth, it can be pretty annoying, especially if the strands of frayed floss get stuck between your teeth.
Solution: Don’t use a section of floss more than once.
Chances are, your floss is fraying because you’ve reused the same section of floss too many times. Make sure you cut yourself a very long piece of floss, and use a new section of floss for each tooth. If you still have trouble with the floss fraying, it could be that your teeth are too close together or that you have a slightly rough-surfaced filling between some of your teeth. Switching to a “comfort floss” which is made from non-fraying material should help.
Problem: You can’t reach your back teeth to floss between them.
If you have big fingers, a little mouth or both, this can be quite the conundrum. However, you need to find a way to floss between those back teeth, since they’re just as prone to decay as your other ones.
Solution: Use dental flossers.
Dental flossers are little pieces of floss attached to plastic picks. They make it easier to reach your back teeth. They’re often more expensive than a package of standard floss, but if you think of the money you’ll save by not needing fillings, they’re worth it.
There’s never a good reason to skip flossing your teeth! Get into the habit of flossing daily, and your teeth (and dentist) will thank you for years to come.