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D
ental Wellness: Frequently Asked Questions #9
 

I can't stand to floss, is there some other alternative?

© Jacob Trager DDS

Flossing correctly takes a real commitment and a lot of practice to accomplish successfully. It is the only hygiene tool that can go between teeth to clean the tooth to tooth contact. If you can become adept at flossing you can effectively clean the majority of each and every tooth with just floss. Brushing can then clean the mid part (both outside and inside) of each tooth. Fine floss like the POH brand can go between the gum and tooth gently and effectively. However, most people will have difficulty flossing their back teeth because dental work may be defective and worn out. But here is where floss performs one of its most important functions as a diagnostic tool to assess the status of existing dental work.

Here's how it works: Floss between your front teeth (where there is no dental work) and feel the ease of movement. If you can't reproduce this ease of movement, where there is dental work, you have a problem and a place when future dental disease (tooth decay and gum disease) can occur.

Reduced use of floss will require a more intensive focused use of the brush and other aids, e.g. a rubber tip stimulator or toothpick in a special holder. The objective to get every area around the tooth and under the gum. The areas you cannot get to are the one's where problems usually will develop. If you find problems going between dental work, find a dentist that can restore the proper contact (this takes a dentist with good skills). Retest the contact with your fine floss after the new work. I'll talk more about dental restorations at another time.

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