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Flossing is an important part of your dental hygiene program and should be done on a daily basis. Without flossing, you are leaving your teeth and gums vulnerable to destruction by tooth decay and periodontal disease. Walking down the drug store aisles you will see choice after choice of different types of dental floss by different companies. How do you choose the right dental floss for you?

Different Types Of Dental Floss

Generally there are two types of dental floss on the market today. These include the following:

-Multifilament floss (like nylon floss or silk floss). This is the traditional, most common form of dental floss most of us are used to. Nylon floss is also the cheapest and usually found in generic brand name floss. This type of floss can be made wider and fluffier to accommodate wider spaces, and have additives such as fluoride incorporated. This type of floss will tend to break and shred during use.

-Monofilament floss (aka single filament). This type of dental floss is usually made of a type of rubber, plastic, or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This floss uses newer technology, and since it isn’t a fabric like nylon, it doesn’t rip or tear. Due to its strength, many people prefer this type as they find it easier to pull between teeth without breakage. The plastic/rubber type tend to glide easier between teeth so many companies call this type of floss Glide.

Dental Floss Options

Now that we know the two basic types of dental floss available, what options can come with either of them?

-Flavor. This can be important to many because it makes the chore of flossing a little easier if it tastes ok. Dental floss can come in flavors ranging from bubblegum to mint to even bacon (yes! bacon flavored dental floss is available!).

-Thickness. Dental floss can come in various size thickness. This is important because our teeth are unique to us and are not one size fits all. Everyone has different size teeth as well as different size spacing between our teeth or under and around crown and bridge work. The best thickness dental floss for you is the one that is able to slide easily between teeth without shredding or getting stuck, and wide enough to remove food particles. Snapping or slicing dental floss between teeth is a good way to cause injury to the gum tissues.

-Waxed or Unwaxed. At one time this was the only option. This option is only available for nylon dental floss. The monofilament floss does not need wax it slides just fine on its own. The wax is simply there to help the floss squeeze between teeth easier. It is a personal preference as to use waxed or unwaxed. There is no clinical difference between the two.

-Dental Tape. This type of dental floss is basically a wide, flat ribbon of nylon. Many people find dental tape easier to get between their teeth than traditional floss due to it being thinner. Dental tape and dental floss are generally in the same family, despite having different names.

-Dental yarn. This floss is soft, wide, and fluffy. It is great for wide spaces and in areas of periodontal disease. Some woven yarn flosses even have fluoride particles embedded so that you can leave strengthening fluoride between the teeth where you need it most.

-Threader Floss. This floss has a hard end which can be easily used to thread under braces and bridgework. It is easier to use than a plastic floss threader, and saves time.

Best Dental Floss On The Market

Presently, Reach has a newer dental floss called Total Care. It is wide like a tape, but elastic and stretchy to accommodate almost any space. It also next to impossible to break while flossing.

Dental Floss Conclusion

Flossing is an essential step in maintaining good oral hygiene. There are so many choices today, it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. Talk to your hygienist about your personal needs, he/she should then be able to suggest the best type of floss for your oral condition.The key takeaway is to use what works best for you and use it regularly to have a happy smile for a lifetime.

Tooth decay (also called dental cavities) is the destruction of tooth structure. It can affect both the enamel (outer layer) and the dentin layer (inner layer) of the tooth. Tooth decay is the most common cause of loss of teeth and it affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. Tooth decay is also the second most common disease in the U.S. (the common cold is first).  Luckily, cavities can be easily prevented.

It is normal for bacteria to be present in the mouth. Certain types of bacteria are able to attach to hard surfaces in the mouth like the enamel that cover the teeth. If these bacteria are not removed, they are able to multiply and grow in number until a colony forms. Proteins that are present in the saliva also mix in and the bacteria colony becomes a whitish film (plaque) on the enamel.

These bacteria feed on sugars and starches from the food like chocolates, sticky sweets, ice cream, milk, cakes, and even fruits, vegetables and juices, producing acid as a byproduct. This acid then erodes the tooth enamel slowly dissolving the tooth. A cavity is formed causing a hole or break in the tooth structure. If not fixed at this stage, the tooth decay can progress further reaching the dentin where it can spread even quicker. The cavity can progress very quickly after entering the dentin. This can lead to a larger issue of a dental abscess if untreated.

Unfortunately for the patient, this process moves very slowly so there may not be any pain or tooth sensitivity until the cavity becomes quite big.

Preventing Tooth Decay

-Maintain a regimen of Dental Hygiene. This is a necessity to prevent tooth decay. A good dental hygiene program includes regular visits to dentist and hygienist, brushing after every meal (with a fluoride containing toothpaste), and flossing at least once a day. You should especially remember to brush before bed. Food can get stuck in between our teeth when we eat. If the food particles are not removed, it can lead to tooth decay. Flossing at least once a day is the best way to remove food from in between the teeth.

-Eat well balanced nutritious meal and limit snacking. Stay away from carbohydrates such as candy, pretzels and chips. These can remain on the tooth surface. If sticky foods are eaten, brush your teeth soon afterwards. Eating fruits and vegetables for snacks and limiting the amount of sugary drinks and foods will help to prevent plaque from forming on the teeth.

-Supplemental Fluoride. Fluoride can strengthen your teeth. Your dentist may recommend a daily fluoride rinse (ACT anticavity rinse is an example) as part of your dental hygiene. This will help in cavity prevention.

Fluoride Rinse - ACT

Prevent Tooth Decay – ACT Fluoride Rinse

regimen.

-Dental Sealants. These can prevent some tooth decay. Sealants are ultra thin coatings applied to the top (chewing) surfaces of the molars. This coating helps prevent the build up of plaque in the deep grooves on these molars. Sealants are generally applied on the children’s teeth soon after the molars erupt into the mouth. Adults can also benefit from the use of sealants if they have a high risk for decay or have deep grooves in the molars and premolars.

-Antiseptic Mouth Rinse. There are several antiseptic mouth rinses on the market that have been clinically proven to reduce plaque. These include Listerine or Crest Pro Health. Rinsing with either of these mouth rinses after brushing or eating can help in cavity prevention. They work by reducing the number of bacteria present in mouth as well as acting as a rinse to wash away plaque and film on teeth.

-Sugarless Gum. Chewing sugarless gum will help prevent tooth decay by stimulating salivary flow. In studies xylitol has shown to temporarily slow down the growth of bacteria that causes tooth decay. There are several brands of xylitol gum including epic, wrigley’s, and trident.

To reduce tooth decay, eating less sugar, regular cleaning and flossing are all needed to keep the bacteria that causes tooth decay from getting out of control. Tooth decay is preventable and treatable in most stages. Diligent dental hygiene along with regular dental visits will keep you cavity free!

tooth decay prevention