To Floss or Not to Floss? Blog

6 September 2016

To Floss or Not to Floss?

There has been much debate recently on whether it is truly necessary to floss or not. Recently, it has been publicly announced on national news that flossing is not necessary in order to promote good oral health. If you ask any respectable dentist or dental hygienist, you will soon learn that this is far from true. While many people may think flossing is recommended simply to remove annoying particles of food between the teeth, there is so much more to it than that. Continue reading for more information on flossing, and why it is important.

Interdental cleaning, otherwise known as flossing, is an essential part of proper oral home care. It is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) to floss at least once a day after brushing. This is to prevent the hardening of plaque that may have been left behind after brushing and rinsing with mouthwash. Plaque that is allowed to stay on the teeth will harden into calculus and tartar, which can only be removed with a professional cleaning by your dental hygienist. Calculus, tartar, and plaque are essentially deposits of bacteria. When allowed to stay in the mouth, the bacteria can cause bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. It is always recommended to make regular trips to your dentist to have your cleanings and checkups done, usually every six months. During your cleaning, your dental hygienist will remove any plaque or tartar buildup and will give you a thorough cleaning of the mouth.

The simple steps for correct flossing correctly:

  • Take a piece of floss from its container, about 12 inches in length.
  • Depending on your preference, either grasp the two ends of the string of floss, or wrap the two ends around two separate fingers to keep a better grip.
  • Bring the string between two teeth and pull it upwards towards the gums. Be sure not to use too much force; this will cut the gums
  • Move the floss in a “c” shape, in a curve across the tooth’s surface.
  • When finished, if you have experienced some bleeding, rinse with mouthwash. Discard the used string of floss.
  • If there has been a considerable amount of bleeding, consider making an appointment to see your dentist, as this could be a sign of gingivitis or periodontal disease.

Many people floss, but do not floss thoroughly or correctly. Be sure to follow these steps in order to ensure that your teeth are completely clean to prevent plaque or tartar buildup. Whether you floss before brushing or after brushing is of no consequence; it really just matters that you floss at least once a day. It is also recommended to have children begin flossing as soon as they have at least two teeth; remember, it is important to take care of the baby teeth too!

Using the information you learned here today, you will be able to make more conscious decisions while making the best choices for your oral health. If you were a skeptic on flossing before, it can certainly be hoped that you now understand its importance.

Covid-19 and your care

We have now received clear guidance as to what dental procedures we can safely carry out and at what stages during the pandemic.

Below is a summary of the guidance as we understand it, although this may modify over the next few days as some small inconsistencies are clarified.

The government has set five different risk levels for the pandemic 1-5 (low to high), although this changes on a daily basis.

The treatments that we can carry out safely in dental practice will change with the risk level.

Treatments are significantly limited at level 4.

During the next few weeks, we will attempt to contact each patient that has contacted us with a significant dental problem during lockdown, and we hope to book an assessment appointment for those patients in the week commencing 8th June.

Practice doors will be locked at level 3, 4 and 5. Entry to the practice will be limited to pre-booked appointments.

There will be very clear criteria provided in due course as what is required before arriving at the practice, and what the procedure will be upon arrival. We will endeavour to ensure that each person knows exactly what to expect at their visit as this will be quite different to what you have been used to.

The appointment diary will be structured to take into consideration those patients who are shielding, may have underlying medical issues and so on.

The first week is expected to be a slow start as we ensure that the new protocols are working effectively for everyone’s safety. These protocols will be audited and modified until required.

At level 4 we should be able to carry out the following:

Dental assessment (initially restricted to patients who have current urgent need, or did and contacted us during lockdown).

X rays but only for patients who tolerate them well.

TEMPORARY re cementation of crowns. (We cannot dry the tooth effectively enough to cement a crown permanently with the restrictions we face).

Fabrication or repair of removable dentures.

Simple dental extractions. If a tooth breaks, it is probable we will have to leave the roots in place until we are at a lower level of risk. Naturally, we will assess the risk very carefully prior to treatment.

Tightening of loose dental implants if possible, without using a high-speed handpiece (drill).

Temporary fillings.

Draining of a swelling/abscess.

Provision of antibiotics.

Trimming of sharp orthodontic wires (not reliable re cementation of loose brackets, or replacement of missing brackets).

Treatment is only to be offered after careful assessment.

Cosmetic orthodontics

Cheshire Dental Centre provide many of these treatments. We may now be able to progress some of our Quick Straight Teeth cases. We will be in touch with each patient shortly, but please allow us to contact you; we hope that it is understandable that we will be prioritising patients with urgent dental need.

The PPE (personal protective equipment) requirements for the above are not too onerous, and we will not look too different to normal. As you are aware, the cross-infection control at Cheshire Dental Centre has always been exemplary and one of our top priorities.

Although we have been organised with the new PPE guidelines well in advance there may be the occasional time where we are awaiting stock. All practices are attempting to source the necessary PPE we need to keep you and us safe, but supplies are scarce and consequently very expensive.