By Wikipedya, the free encyclopedia.
Tooth brushing alone will not remove plaque from all surfaces of the tooth as 40% of the surfaces are interdental. One technique that can be used to access these areas is dental floss. When the proper technique is used, flossing can remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and below the gums, The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that up to 80% of plaque may be removed by this method. The ADA recommends cleaning between the teeth as part of one's daily oral hygiene regime.
There are different types of floss available, including:
Unwaxed floss: Unbound nylon filaments that spread across the tooth. Plaque and debris get trapped for easy removal.
Waxed floss: less susceptible to tearing or shredding when used between tight contacts or areas with overhanging restorations.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon): Slides easily through tight contacts and does not fray.
A dental hygienist demonstrates dental flossing.
The type of floss used is a personal preference, however without proper technique it may not be effective. The correct technique to ensure maximum plaque removal is as follows:
Floss length: 15–25 cm wrapped around middle fingers.
For upper teeth grasp the floss with thumb and index finger, for lower teeth with both index fingers. Ensure that a length of roughly an inch is left between the fingers.
Ease the floss gently between the teeth using a back and forth motion.
Position the floss in such a way that it becomes securely wrapped around the interdental surface of the tooth in a C shape.
Ensure that the floss is taken below the gum margins using a back and forth up and down motion.
There are a few different options on the market that can make flossing easier if dexterity or coordination is a barrier, or as a preference over normal floss. Floss threaders are ideal for cleaning between orthodontic appliances, and flossetts are ideal for those with poor dexterity.