Flossing!!!! I know the majority of us dread doing it. Like anything it takes effort and time. But it is important for the health of our mouths. The reason why we floss is to remove bacterial plaque, or to disrupt and reduce the microbes that make up this biofilm. Dental biofilm is made up of populated colonies of microbes, consisting of more than 500 species. YUM!!!! It is the cause for gum disease and cavities that can lead to serious health problems.
Why hygienists tell you to floss daily, is because these microbes are resilient- recolonizing in less than 24 hours after mechanical disruption (brushing and flossing).
This is my 7 yr old Morgan showing us how difficult it is for this age group to floss properly. Floss picks are a great way for them to floss on their own.
If you are not a flosser. There are other great tools that are effective. And to be effective, would be a tool that is used consistently! Many of my patients do not floss. So to encourage them to floss is not always the answer. We work together to find a tool that they are willing to use, and hopefully incorporate it into their daily hygiene routine.
One tool which I recommend a lot is the waterpik water flosser. It is an initial investment but one that is worth it. Most find it easier to use than floss and love it. Earlier this week, I had a patient in for her first cleaning at 51 years old! And to my surprise, other than the light to moderate calculus build up, her mouth was in great health. The reason why? Because of her excellent home care and daily use of her waterpik. I don’t recommend anyone to use a waterpik and avoid their dental cleanings, but it is a great tool for those who find flossing a challenge.
My other daughter Olivia… being silly!
So ask your dental hygienist what other dental aids there are to fight your biofilm!
Leilani Borne, RDH