Imagine you’re standing in the dental products aisle at your local Target or Walmart. You’re about to run out of floss at home, and you just want to pick some up. If you’re like most people, your first thought is probably something like this:
Why in the world are there so many types of dental floss?
Unfortunately, this can make it hard to know which product is the best. Being a dental practice, we have to tell you the truth: it doesn’t really matter a whole lot what type of floss you prefer, as long as you are actually flossing. However, that doesn’t really help you when you’re standing in the store, trying to decide between dozens of different types of dental floss.
In this series of blog posts, we’ll inform you about different types of dental products, so you can choose which dental product is right for you, starting with floss. With floss, it’s important to know that there a few different types of floss on the market. Choosing the one that’s right for you can make flossing pain-free and more effective.
There are two types of woven floss you may hear about. The first type of woven floss is generally made of cotton. With these flosses, you can clearly see the wrapped threads, especially since they are often different colors. Cotton woven floss can be very effective in cleaning plaque, and because of the material it’s made of, can also be gentler on your gums. The second type of woven floss consists of nylon filaments threaded together to form a single, larger thread.
In general, woven flosses are effective, but depending on the space between your teeth, the threads can come apart.
Monofilament floss is usually made of Teflon, and is a single thread. This means it is very durable and unable to fray like multifilament woven floss. Since Teflon has a slippery consistency, it is often much easier and more comfortable to fit between your teeth.
Waxed or unwaxed?
Wax helps the floss fit between your teeth more easily. Unwaxed floss squeaks, which is a benefit, because it tells you that it’s clean between your teeth. If you haven’t got a preference, try using both waxed and unwaxed floss to see which one works better and feels more comfortable for you.
Dental tape is wider than the flosses described above. This is helpful if you have a wider gap in your teeth or dental fixtures like crowns, bridges, etc. If you have a hard time getting the dental tape in between your gums, consider changing to filament floss.
If you have braces, bridges, or permanent retainers, floss threaders are a must. Floss threaders have a rigid piece of string followed by a loop. You put your floss of choice in the loop, and guide the floss past your braces, bridges, or retainer. Then you can floss with the attached dental floss. This can take more time, but when braces or other fixtures are involved, flossing is even more vital in keeping your mouth healthy.
If you’ve read this far, you should know that there isn’t a “best” floss out there, only what works with each person’s needs and preferences. If you are unsure of what floss to use, ask your dental hygienist or dentist for advice on what may work best for you.
Why do you go to the dentist?
Answering this question feels straightforward enough. Maybe you want to have straight white teeth, or you’re worried that your gums might not be healthy. Maybe it’s as simple as your dentist and hygienist remind you that it’s important to have your teeth checked and cleaned every six months.
But when you really think about dentistry, are those the reasons why you go to the dentist? Or is there a deeper and more emotionally engaging reason involved? As dental professionals, we believe dentistry can, does, and should fulfill a more profound need for each and every one of our patients.
While that emotional concern is the focus of this newsletter article, we’re not going to discount the key health benefits of dentistry, so we’ll cover them briefly now.
- Maintain your oral health. Simply put, if you want to keep your teeth for your lifetime, you need to take care of them.
- Address any dental concerns. Whether you have a cavity, a chipped tooth, or a more substantial concern, the only way to get it fixed is by going to the dentist. (As an aside, at-home dentistry is almost always a very bad idea. If you don’t believe us, just google it.)
- Improve your overall health. Good oral health (especially healthy gums) reduces your risk of many conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and pre-term delivery during pregnancy.
All of these benefits are real and substantial, but are they truly motivating? Or is what motivates us to act something harder to pin down? If you ask most people, they would say that our true motivations for anything we do are for emotional reasons—and that holds true with dentistry as well.
At a physical level, dentistry happens inside your mouth. But the impact your oral health has on your life reaches far beyond that. If your teeth hurt, you might not be able to enjoy the foods and drinks you love—or you might even be in significant pain a lot of the time. If your teeth don’t look good, you might not smile often. If you have bad breath (often caused by a dental condition you’re not aware of), then you might feel embarrassed or ashamed, and your personal relationships might suffer.
Whatever that impact is, affects your life in real ways. It limits what you do, what you believe, and how you feel about yourself.
Good dentistry fixes the problems in your mouth, but it also addresses those larger concerns. It removes embarrassment so you feel confident in your family, social, and professional life. It allows you to relax, smile, and enjoy social situations, the foods you love, and the time you share with friends and loved ones. Good oral health boosts your self-esteem, confidence, and emotional health.
As your dental team, we want you to have excellent oral health, as well as all of the health benefits associated with it. But more importantly, we want you to be happy, confident, and content. If it’s time for your check-up, or if you have a specific concern, give us a call or visit our website to make an appointment today.