We all know that flossing is a crucial oral health habit. We often have good intentions to do but it so often gets missed when life gets busy. Luckily, there are many different products available to assist with flossing so it is good to try out a few different products until you find something that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
Usually, your dentist or dental hygienist will recommend dental tape or floss, but you will likely need to try them both and see which you prefer.
Floss or tape?
Both dental tape and dental floss are devices designed to clean the hard-to-reach surfaces between teeth that your brush just cannot get to. Dental floss is a thin strand, whereas dental tape is broader and flatter.
You must choose the right product for you and the one which is the most effective at cleaning between your teeth and which you find easiest to use. If your teeth are tightly pressed together with little room between, you might find dental tape easier to use. Depending on your dexterity and your mouth, it can sometimes be tricky to handle thin strands of floss, in which case tape might be easier for you to use.
How to use dental floss or tape
The advice for flossing is the same, whether you choose dental tape or floss:
- Tear off a suitable strand of tape or floss; people tend to struggle because they tear off too little.
- Wind one end of the tape around one of your middle fingers. Do the same with the other end of the tape on your other hand.
- To keep control of the tape or floss and be able to manoeuvre it effectively, pinch the string on each hand with your pointer finger and thumb.
- Slowly and gently insert the tape or floss into the space between two of your teeth.
- Using a back-and-forth motion, gently move the floss or tape up the tooth until it comes out from between the teeth.
- Unwind a new section of floss or tape from one hand and wind it up on the other hand so that you have a clean section to work with.
- Repeat the motion on the space between your next two teeth and work logically and systematically around your mouth in this way.
As you can see, the method of flossing is far more important than which product you use. Flossing removes plaque from between the teeth, and if this isn’t done regularly, it can turn into a hard substance called tartar that only dental professionals can remove. If this happens, your gums can also swell and bleed.
Alternatives to dental floss and tape
If you try both tape and floss and find them difficult to use, there are other products available.
It is important to floss once a day to maintain good oral health and not just give up. If you struggle to find a flossing product that works for you, don’t hesitate in speaking to your dentist or dental hygienist.