Dental Hygiene

Bye-bye, flossing!

Mar 28 • 2 minute read

Did you ever think you'd see the day when your dental hygienist says you DON'T have to floss?!

Well...sort of.

It seems impossible to believe because most of us are used to having our dentist or dental hygienist lecture us about not flossing enough or asking us when the last time we flossed was. Some witty patients often answer the last question with, "When was the last time I was here?" Implying of course that WE were the last people who flossed their teeth! As a dental hygienist, I truly do see the benefits to regular flossing and I try to teach patients good techniques to hopefully get the best results out of their daily home care efforts. I also understand that traditional floss (string wound around our fingers and maneuvered around somewhat blindly) can be more difficult to manage for some patients. Here is the good news:

According to the December 2018 Issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene Journal in an article "A New Paradigm in Interproximal Plaque Removal" by Michele Carr, RDH, MA: "The ADA's (American Dental Association's) new recommendation is to brush teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and clean between teeth once a day. This revised recommendation clearly emphasizes "clean between teeth" compared with "floss," and states cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to (cavities) vs prevents (cavities). A paradigm shift is starting to occur in which the focus is moving from flossing to interproximal (between the teeth) plaque removal".

Bottom line, just get SOMETHING between your teeth! Try some different options to see what works best for you, then be as consistent as possible. Don't beat yourself up if you miss a day or two, just try to get back in the routine as soon as possible. I even tell patients to leave a little pack of floss or interdental picks or brushes by where they like to sit and watch TV. Why not clean your teeth while you are relaxing on the sofa? Maybe you are too tired to go through the motions right before bed, but at least you know you did a thorough in between teeth cleaning at SOME POINT during the day.  I've included pictures of products I like; which are typically easy to find in many stores we go to all the time. Give them a try, find what works best for you, and hopefully you'll get an improved report next visit to the dentist!

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