Flossing Made Easier With These Options

Posted on Oct 01, 2014 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Daily flossing, combined with thorough brushing twice a day, is an effective way to minimize your potential for periodontal (gum) disease, which is the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

As a Periodontist, I’ve heard every excuse under the sun why people don’t floss. “It hurts my fingers.” “I don’t feel I need to floss.” “The floss hurts my gums.” Yet, when people get into the habit of flossing, using the proper technique, most can’t go a day without flossing. Some tell me, “I don’t feel like my mouth is really clean if I miss flossing.”

Your dental hygienist is a pro at helping you develop a comfortable technique that effectively removes debris and bacteria between teeth. However, if you absolutely cannot get used to traditional dental floss, here are a few options you may wish to try:

Floss Holders – These are small plastic pieces that hold floss taut so you don’t have to wrap it around your fingers.  Many people feel Floss Holders make flossing easier and like that they can be used with one hand.  Like traditional flossing, it is important that you don’t ‘pop’ the floss in-between teeth. This can damage tender gum tissues, which leaves the gums more susceptible for bacteria to penetrate.

Oral Irrigators – An oral irrigator (or water flosser) uses a pulsating action of water to help remove bacteria and food particles from between teeth.  They also stimulate blood flow. Use water that is lukewarm or at room temperature for additional comfort.

Electric Flossers – These flossers, such as Airfloss, use microburst technology to send a burst of pressurized air mixed with water to clean between teeth. These are excellent for people who struggle with hand coordination or strength (arthritis sufferers, for example). They can go into areas where a toothbrush doesn’t reach and gives a deeper clean than that of Oral Irrigators.

Regardless of which option you choose, DO choose something to keep oral bacteria from creating problems that can be costly and time-consuming to repair. Think of your flossing aid as “an ounce of prevention.” Plus, your mouth will feel cleaner and breath will be fresher! So, no more excuses!


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