You’ve probably heard it a million times by orthodontists and dentist: “Are you flossing? How often do you floss? You should floss more. It would really help if you flossed.” As much as I imagine we sound like an overzealous nanny or a mother scolding you to call more often, there’s a reason for this persistence: it truly is imperative to your oral health. Left unchecked, food particles and plaque will build up. Causing irritation and possibly recession of the gums, as well as contribute to your mouth and jaw changing (which causes shifting of the teeth).
If you brush your teeth thoroughly but neglect to floss, you’re only fighting half the battle. Without flossing, sooner or later the plaque buildup will outstrip the benefits of brushing alone. Taking the time to floss is crucial to a winning smile.
Consumers have a much wider selection to choose from than in earlier days. Regular floss (known as Stringed Floss) is still widely available, but others have opted for newer types that can ease the time and strain of the activity. Floss Picks (don’t let the name scare you away) uses a single thread attached to a crescent shaped handle for ease of use. The drawback is that ironically, you need to pay closer attention to hitting all of the angles for the same, deep clean. You’ll also go through them quickly since you can’t just pull out more string when food particles cluster onto the thread. Luckily, these are sold in bulk. For a more advanced (and expensive) alternative, there’s oral irrigators. These automatic devices use a reservoir of water to stream a pressurized jet of water into a closed mouth, giving a thorough clean for less effort. You’ll have to pause and re-angle the irrigator after each tooth, but if the odd feeling of having a thread between your teeth is keeping you from flossing, it’s more than worth the investment. You only get one natural set of adult teeth, after all.