Flossing in between your teeth – do you really need to do it?

It is undeniable that oral health is an essential prerequisite for people’s overall well-being & quality of life. According to the definition from the World Dental Federation, FDI. “Oral health” is multi-faceted and includes the ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without pain or discomfort.

Periodontal (Gum) disease is common worldwide and affects nearly the entire adult population on this earth and most commonly occurs inter dentally (between teeth) where plaque accumulates and along and below the gum line.

There is now widespread scientific evidence that supports a direct link between periodontal disease & general diseases that occur in the body e.g., cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, pregnancy complication, cerebrovascular disease, arthritis & pulmonary disease just to mention a few. Gum disease can also contribute to anxiety, low self-esteem, and feelings of shame and vulnerability.
Caries (tooth decay) also occurs when plaque accumulates at the contact point where one tooth touches the next. The bacteria found in plaque, produce acid from ingested (eaten) fermentable carbohydrates which destroys tooth enamel and causes cavities (holes). When these occur between teeth they are hard to detect until they become large and a cavity form.

Unfortunately, tooth brushing alone does not remove this stubborn plaque that forms in between teeth.

There are many inter dental cleaning devices available on the market. The most popular ones include floss, inter dental brushes & wooden or plastic picks. Water-flosses & irrigators also help to flush out larger pieces of food & debris from these hard to reach areas, but should only be used as an adjunct to manual cleaning with one of the aforementioned devices.

When deciding what is best for you, speak to your oral health professional as they will need to evaluate your individual needs & conditions as a basis for their instructions & recommendations. Their recommendations regarding inter dental cleaning devices must be tailored from the type of floss to the sizes and shapes of inter dental brushes. Together with your oral health professional, you will create the best possible foundation for your own compliance & long-lasting oral health.