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When I think of dental floss, I am reminded of the relationship that exists between the “Egyptian Plover bird and the Crocodile”. What is so special about their relationship?

The Plover bird gets into the crocodile’s mouth and picks out the tiny bits of food stuck in its teeth. This action of the Plover bird keeps the Crocodile’s teeth clean and makes its mouth fresh and free from infections.

Dental Floss are cords of thin filaments used to take out food and dental plaque from between the teeth, areas a toothbrush cannot reach.

An important oral hygiene practice is flossing. Why?

The build-up of plaque on the teeth and along the gum line can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Therefore, these plaque build-ups are disrupted and gotten rid of by using cleaning tools; toothbrushing and cleaning between the teeth with interdental cleaners like floss.

Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth once daily with floss and regularly visiting your dentist as advised is essential to maintain good oral health as recommended by the American Dental Association.

How do I use Dental Floss?

There are different types of dental floss. The Floss pick; Satin tape; Super floss and the Ribbon floss. The Floss picks are in combination with toothpick and can be used on the go while the other types are for more detailed and special cleaning of the teeth.

  • Find the type that works for you and stick to it or use as advised by your dentist.
  • For the Floss picks which come in combination with toothpick, you hold the comfort handle and gently use it in between your teeth.
  • You can also use the toothpick end to assist the floss in removing food particles stuck in your teeth.
  • Gently place the dental floss between two teeth and gliding the floss up and down while rubbing it against the sides of each tooth. Avoid gliding the floss into your gums as this can bruise or scratch your gums.
  • As the floss reaches your gums, gently pull the floss pick upwards so it can form a curved surface on the floss fibers.
  • Gently remove the floss from between the teeth and repeat the steps as you move from tooth to tooth.

Where and when do you need Floss

You can floss on the go with the Floss picks after eating fibrous food that get stuck and cause you discomfort in-between your teeth. At the end of your daily activities, you can floss before brushing your teeth at bedtime.

Flossing helps to take out food and plaque that clings between your teeth while brushing takes away these particles from your mouth. Food particles and plaque remain in your mouth if you brush first and floss later.

So, it is advisable to floss first before brushing your teeth.

Why do I need Floss when I have Toothpicks?

Floss and toothpicks function differently but can work together to achieve a better result.

Toothpicks remove food particles stuck in between the teeth, but it can only go as far as the front surface. It does not penetrate the base of the tooth to remove the food particles behind the teeth inside the mouth.

Dental floss achieves a 360° teeth cleaning.


Image credit: istock photos