Why are teeth important?
The size and shape of the teeth will vary according to their position in the mouth, and it is these variations which mean they are able to perform various functions. Firstly, they aid in chewing and digesting food, also allowing us to speak and have the ability to pronounce sounds clearly. Finally, teeth provide a nice facial shape. A nice smile can give you a great confidence boost and so it is important to maintain your teeth on a regular basis.
How do I clean between my teeth?
One method of cleaning between the teeth is via the use of dental tape or floss. Flossing will remove plaque left between the teeth and below the gumline. These areas cannot easily be reached when using a standard toothbrush, and a dental hygienist or dentist will be able to demonstrate the best technique for doing so. You may find the following tips useful:
- Break off roughly eighteen inches of dental floss and then wind a large amount of it around a middle finger. Wind the rest of the tape around the corresponding finger on your other hand; as you floss the used section will be taken up by this finger.
- Leaving roughly an inch of floss between your forefingers and thumb, hold it tightly so that there is no slack. Using a gentle rocking movement guide the floss between the teeth, ensuring that you do not exert too much force.
- As soon as the floss arrives at the gums you should curve it against one tooth to form a C-shape and feel some resistance.
- Scrape the side gently so that the floss is moving away from your gum, repeating this process on the side of the next tooth—make sure that you do not forget to floss the reverse of the last tooth.
- You should have a regular pattern for doing this. The best way is to begin at the top and work your way from left to right, for both arches.
It is vital that you thoroughly clean the areas around any implants, crowns or bridges. This can be tricky to achieve with the use of standard floss, but there are special flosses available that can do a more thorough job, including floss threaders and super floss. You should ask a hygienist or dentist about the best way to use these products.
Will flossing make my gums bleed?
For the initial five or six days after you begin flossing there is a chance that your gums will bleed or be slightly sore. This should cease after the bacteria has been eliminated and any plaque broken up. If your gums continue to bleed after this point you should consult your dentist. It could be that you require a professional cleaning from a hygienist or dentist, or it could simply be that you are not flossing properly.
What if I am having trouble?
If you are struggling to use floss there are floss holders or interdental cleaning aids available. The cleaning aids can include tooth picks or small interdental brushes and these are used to get rid of any plaque between the teeth.