How healthy is your smile?

Okay, so you brush your teeth twice a day, use mouthwash, avoid sugary and high acid foods and see your Dentist regularly. Sounds like you are taking great care of your teeth. But here’s an important fact you might not know: if you don’t floss daily, you are missing cleaning more than a third of your tooth’s surface.

You’re not alone. This is the step more than half of people don’t regularly do and 10% never do! Some people think that flossing is just for getting out food stuck between teeth – but it’s just as important as brushing and gets out plaque between your teeth. Plaque is what causes tooth decay, inflamed gums (gingivitis), gum disease and eventually tooth loss.

Don’t have time to floss? It only takes about 3 minutes – and will quickly become a habit if you make it part of your daily routine. Keep your floss in plain sight, near your toothbrush and toothpaste. Keep doing it and soon you will have the knack and be able to do it quickly.

Not sure how to floss? The Canadian Dental Association says:

  1. Take a length of floss equal to the distance from your hand to your shoulder.
  2. Wrap it around your index and middle fingers, leaving about two inches between your hands.
  3. Slide the floss between two teeth, wrap it into a "C" shape around the base of one tooth and gently under the gumline. Wipe the floss up the tooth from base to tip two or three times.
  4. Be sure to floss both sides of every tooth. Don't forget the backs of your last molars. Go to a new section of the floss as it wears and picks up particles.
  5. Brush your teeth after you floss.

Choosing floss  If unwaxed floss doesn’t work, or your teeth are very close together, try waxed floss, which is more slippery, or the extra thin floss designed for tight spaces. Life Brand has flavoured and unflavoured flosses in many varieties.

Problems flossing? If your gums hurt or bleed when you floss, you may already have gingivitis or gum disease – exactly why flossing is important. Keep flossing, together with brushing and rinsing, and it should stop in a week or so. If not, see your Dentist. If your floss shreds because you snag it on a ragged edge of a filling or tooth, try using stronger floss. If you have dental work you can try using Life Brand Ortho Flossers, just ask your Orthodontist to show you how to use them. If you find flossing awkward you can also try the popular Mint flavoured Life Brand Dental Flossers. These are single use flossers that are preloaded with extra tough floss and have a dental pick at one end. They are great if you have problems with getting to those hard to reach areas.

If this still won’t work for you, consider using those conical rubber tips (found on toothbrush handles or on their own handles), or narrow spiral brushes such as the Life Brand Interdental Brush or even the disposable Life Brand Dental Picks.

But do floss daily. Together with brushing, mouthwash and seeing your Dentist regularly, it will help perfect your healthy smile!