Ruth Mickelson, RDH
Four Ways to Clean Between Teeth
When thinking about cleaning between teeth, floss will probably come to mind. This is a great way to clean between teeth, but it is not the only way! There are other oral hygiene aids that are available and it’s not one size fits all. Below are options with the benefits and uses for each one.
1. String dental floss. With proper technique, this is effective in removing plaque and reducing gingivitis and risk for non-reversible periodontal disease. There are many types of string floss and between waxed, tape and spongey floss, there is an option suitable for everyone. Waxed floss is great for the average person but may rip or tear. For those with tight contacts, a smooth floss like the Glide Oral B is useful. It’s easier to get into the tooth contact without breaking. Spongey floss like the Glide Super Floss is useful for people with bridge restorations, spacious contacts, or those wearing braces. The Super floss has a stiff end that allows for directing the floss under the bridge or orthodontic appliance. The spongey part of the floss is great for attaching to plaque and removing it from the teeth and gums. Another great point about sting floss is that it is generally inexpensive. For some, sting floss can be difficult to use. It does take practice to feel comfortable using it but after learning, can be done in just a few minutes.
2. Mounted Floss Picks. Many people love floss picks for their convivence! There are even floss picks called platypus flosser specifically made for patients with braces. These are a great option for people with limited dexterity such as children. Because there is only a small amount of floss being used, it is instructed to rinse off plaque as needed between teeth and then dispose of pick.
3. Water floss. This is great for gum stimulation and removing large pieces of plaque or food that it stuck. This is a good option for those with limited dexterity, those with tight contacts, and those who have a hard time using other flossing aids.
4. Proxabrushes. This come in a variety of sizes and different handle. They are used to clean between wide contacts, around orthodontic braces and in some cases be useful under bridge restorations.
One person could benefit from using more than one type of interdental aid, depending on the area od the mouth. No matter what oral hygiene aids are used to clean between teeth, it is important to use proper technique in order for them to be effective. Speak with a dental professional for instructions on how to use any oral hygiene aids.
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