Should you use a floss brush?

Daily flossing removes bacteria and food particles from between your teeth where your toothbrush can't reach. If they remain, they can form plaque, which can form cavities and cause bad breath and gingivitis. Commonly made of flexible plastic or nylon filaments, regular dental floss can certainly do the trick but can be difficult to use for some. Patients with periodontal disease or braces may also find traditional flossing cumbersome and even painful. Luckily, an alternative to dental floss is easy to use, effective and comfortable.

Floss brushes, also known as interdental brushes, clean the teeth using nylon brushes attached to a plastic handle. These brushes may be conical or tapered and are coated with plastic or nylon, making them safe to use on all teeth, including implants. Some interdental brushes are even treated with antimicrobial agents, making them even more effective against harmful bacteria.

Some features that give floss brushes an advantage over regular dental floss include the following:

• A variety of sizes. Unlike regular dental floss, interdental brushes are available in a wide range of sizes. The gaps between the teeth vary by person, and your dentist can recommend the right sizes for you. The brush should move through the gaps between the teeth comfortably, and the movement should never feel forced. When you use the correct size, you shouldn't feel any discomfort.

• Flexible handle. Flossing the teeth in the back of your mouth is important because these teeth do most of the chewing and are therefore most at risk for harboring food particles and bacteria. Traditional dental floss, held between the forefingers and thumbs, is difficult to manipulate between the back teeth. This inadequate technique allows plaque to form easily between the teeth and puts patients at risk for cavities and gum disease. Interdental brushes are attached to flexible rubber handles, making it easier to access hard-to-reach places.

• Improved gum health. Like regular dental floss, the brushes remove food debris and bacteria that from between the teeth and underneath the gums, reducing the risk of developing gum disease. But interdental brushes also massage the gums as they clean, which promotes better overall gum health.

• Reusability. Dental floss is used once then tossed in the trash, but you can us interdental brushes over again, just like a toothbrush. Using the brush carefully and rinsing it after each use can extend the life of each brush up to a week.

• Handy for people with braces. For people with braces, using dental floss to clean between the teeth can be difficult, if not impossible. Interdental brushes, in contrast, are easy to use around wires and brackets to prevent the buildup of plaque.

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Do you brush and floss properly?


Brush in a circular motion, as opposed to up and down or sideways. (Photo by Katie Jacewicz)
Brush in a circular motion, as opposed to up and down or sideways. (Photo by Katie Jacewicz)

Cleaning your teeth properly requires some skill to brush and floss the right way. You need to include correct teeth cleaning techniques into your daily routine. Follow these tips for better oral hygiene.

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