This article will explain an easier way to floss that many people have found much simpler (and easier to stick to) than traditional flossing.
Flossing your teeth may seem hard - I found traditional flossing with a piece of string too much of a hassle and very hard to maintain regularly, and many people don't even do it all all, But dentists don't tell you to floss every day for no reason - if you want good teeth then you need to floss, it's that simple. Unfortunately (for them) many people don't floss (maybe that's why our dental clinic is always so busy!).
Flossing removes plaque under the gum line and between your teeth where neither a traditional toothbrush nor an electric toothbrush cannot reach. Plaque build-up leads to tooth decay and gum disease, so we to visit the dentist less often and keep your teeth into old age, you need to floss your teeth daily.
New flossing methods make it easier to keep your teeth clean and healthy
Keep reading for the perfect dental routine for flawless teeth, discuss the merits of traditional flossing, look at the latest craze; flossing with interdental brushes (commonly known as piksters), examine whether or not you should use a water flosser and show you different ways to floss, including the easiest and most effective way.
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Answers to the 25 most commonly asked dental questions
Nearly 40% of Aussies never floss or clean between their teeth and up to 70% don't floss every day
Flossing should be an essential part of our oral care routine and not an optional extra. The Australian Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day as it removes the plaque from between our teeth, and helps to prevent gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. That's a lot of upside for just a couple of minutes a day.
Nearly 30% of adults lie to the dentist about flossing
This study found that many people lie to their dentist about flossing. It also found that 36% would rather do something they hate over daily flossing such as cleaning the toilet (14%), washing a sink full of dirty dishes (18%) or waiting in a long checkout line (14%). And one in ten adults would rather sit in gridlock traffic for an hour or do their taxes.
It's more important to floss than you might think, as nearly HALF the surface of your teeth is between them
Here’s something you may not know - nearly half the surface area of your teeth lies between them! So if you’re relying on just brushing to clean your teeth, you're missing half your teeth!
It can be easy to forget to floss...
If you're like me you probably floss your teeth semi regularly. I intend to floss each night, but sometimes it feels like a lot of effort when I'm too tired. Sometimes I just forget. When I do remember, I'm often surprised by the size of food bits that the floss fishes out. Sometimes I think, "jeepers, how did the toothbrush miss that!"
Traditional flossing can feel a bit unco and even painful
I always feel a bit uncoordinated when I'm flossing, especially when I'm doing those pesky back teeth. It's fiddly and annoying. I'm sure I'm using way more floss than I need - probably because I'm not doing it right. Sometimes my gums bleed a little. But I'm told that with daily flossing, this will stop within a week or so.
Last year I started flossing using a dental floss toothpick which is made up of two prongs with dental floss strung between them. It also has a pointy bit at the handle end which can be used like a tooth pick. - I think they are better than trying to hold a bit of string in your fingers .
I'm going to share with you a new way of flossing that my dentist shared with me (to try to get me to floss more often) that is even easier and more effective than a dental floss toothpick, and much easier than flossing the traditional way.
3 Different ways to floss - what it costs and where to buy
Easier flossing option number 1
Some kids and adults find it easier to floss using a flossing stick - and lets face it, if it's easier then you're more likely to do it often and make a habit out of it. On Ebay you can get a pack of 40 flossing sticks for only $2..99, or a pack of 200 for $7.60.
Here's what they look like and how they work.
Or you could try a water jet flosser - known as a 'waterpik'
Easier flossing option number 2
Jet flosser's are great, easy to use, not painful for people with sensitive gums and many people report very good results. Unfortunately, they don't remove plaque as well as floss does because effective flossing literally “wipes” the sticky plaque off teeth and Waterpiks can only “rinse” these areas. However, combining both flossing and Waterpiks can achieve incredible results! One of the most popular Waterpiks is this one sold by Kogan
The easy way to floss (and what this writer uses) - Piksters / Interdental brushes
Easier flossing option number 3
When my dentist realised that I was never going to regularly floss my teeth in the traditional sense using strings of floss or even flossing sticks she gave me Piksters, and I've been using them regularly ever since. I think they work even better than traditional flossing and I find them much easier to use.
Piksters are a small circular toothbrush, kind of like a toothpick with bristles, which are inserted into the spaces between your teeth (it's much easier than it looks - and definitely easier than traditional flossing).
How to floss
To floss using an interdental brush simply push the brush into the gap between each tooth on both the top and bottom of your mouth. The first time you do it you might find it a little bit strange, but it will quickly become very easy to floss you teeth this way.
The bristles of an interdental brush are specially designed to expand into the indents of the tooth surfaces and effectively clean the gaps between teeth, removing decaying food particles which may cause bad breath, plaque formation and gum disease.
You can buy a 40 pack here for $20.80 including postage. And I've found they last a few days each so a pack of 40 should get you a few months worth of flossing (or pikstering!). You can also buy Piksters from Coles, Woolworths and local pharmacies.
Water flosser (waterpik) vs interdental brush (pikster) - which is better?
To those people who swear by water flossers, I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but the truth is that interdental brushes (piksters) are much better at removing decay around the parts of the teeth that a brush can't get to. So should you use a water flosser if a pikster will do a better job? Our dentists say no if it's a choice between the two, but if you want to combine using both a pikster and a water flosser then go for it.
Why some dentists say that Piksters are better than traditional flossing
Because piksters are a small cylindrical brush they can slide into and clean the spaces between the teeth. Unlike floss, they have lateral bristles that spring out to engage and remove the plaque in the small crevices in between the teeth. Dentists call these areas furcations. Dental floss tends to clean in a straight line whereas an interdental brush (a pikster) can spring out and dig into these areas and disturb the plaque.
For many people, piksters are easier than normal flossing
If you've never used them before then you might be wondering if Piksters are hard to use. The simple answer is yes, they are very easy to use. As interdental brushes have a stiffened wire core you can clean the spaces between your teeth one-handed, unlike regular floss. This makes it easier for the average person to use vs traditional flossing. And whatever is easier to do you are more likely to do - so many dentists find that their patients like to use piksters in preference to floss.
In fact, in several dental schools in Europe the use of interdental brushes is now taught as the primary method of cleaning between the teeth, whereas in the past floss was mainly taught.
Piksters come in different sizes
Piksters come in a wide range of sizes, which can make deciding which one's to buy a little confusing. Personally I use a size 3 because my teeth sit quite close together, but if you're unsure where to start go for a multi pack containing size 1, 2 and 3 or just start with the most commonly used size, a size 3. Alternatively you could ask your dentist at your next visit which size they recommend for your teeth (Inspiro has fantastic dental clinic and gets great feedback from clients).
How to floss your teeth - recommendations from the Australian Dental Association
The Australian dental association recommends either traditional flossing or inter-dental flossing (using a pikster). If you prefer traditional flossing over piksters, waterpiks or disposable floss sticks then here is how you should floss your teeth.
When to floss and how often
The Australian Dental Association recommends making flossing part of our daily oral health routine and flossing at least once a day.
It’s always best to floss when you’re not in a rush or when you’re not too tired to do it properly. If you’re too tired at the end of the day, you might benefit from flossing in the morning or after lunch. Or if you like to go to bed with a clean mouth, then floss before your nightly brush.
If you have kids, they should begin flossing as soon as they have two teeth in contact. You should help them until they are about eight years old as they likely won’t have the ability to floss properly before then. (If you're having second thoughts about flossing have a look at this article about one of our staff's daughter),
The ultimate flossing routine - piksters PLUS flossing
If you aren't already flossing at all, then just using interdental brushes once per day is a HUGE, HUGE improvement. But if you want the full deal on how to have the perfect teeth then you should consider using piksters PLUS traditional flossing
The ultimate teeth flossing and cleaning routine for perfect teeth
The ultimate brushing and flossing routine includes brushing with an electric toothbrush, flossing using traditional floss between tight teeth and using an interdental brush (pikster). Our dentists recommend brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, drinking tap water (if you are living in Australia, for other countries you may need to check your water quality and water fluoride levels), reducing your consumption of sugary foods and sugary drinks and eat healthy foods that are good for your teeth, like the 7 foods in this article. You can also use tooth moose if you have low enamel levels.
Here are the answers to the most commonly asked dental concerns, problems and issues
Because we are one of the largest dental clinics in Melbourne we get lots of clients, and therefore lots of questions. Here are the most common questions we get asked, followed by the answers to those common questions.
Make an appointment with one of Inspiro's dentists today, call 9028 0153.