Dental floss: Bacteria don't take a holiday

Flossing in summer

If you've brushed your teeth today, you may think you've completed your oral hygiene routine and are safe from cavities and other diseases, but that's not the case. Brushing alone is not enough, and we'll try to explain why in this article.

One question that patients ask us in the clinic on a daily basis is: which is better, electric or manual toothbrushing? To understand the correct answer, it is necessary to first understand the reason for brushing. We don't brush our teeth just because we have to clean the food that remains in our mouth after eating, no. We brush our teeth because we have to clean the food that remains in our mouth after eating.

In reality, what we are looking for when we brush our teeth is, thanks to the help of toothpaste, to clean the bacterial plaque, formed by the millions of bacteria that live daily in our mouth and digestive system and which is completely invisible. If these bacteria are not controlled, they can cause diseases in our mouth, such as the well-known caries, and can also aggravate others that sound unrelated to oral health, such as myocardial infarction, hypertension or diabetes.

But, we insist, brushing alone is insufficient, regardless of whether you use an electric toothbrush or a manual toothbrush. It's actually quite simple to understand: a toothbrush only sweeps the surface of the tooth, without getting into the spaces between tooth and tooth. This is where interdental cleaning tools come into play. You have to floss every day, because bacteria don't take a holiday and are always present, working around the clock.

There are many types of yarn, with different shapes and flavours:

Classic threadAlso sometimes called 'dental floss', it is made up of a set of fine nylon or plastic filaments and is marketed in mint flavour, with fluoride incorporated... and so on.

Dental tapeIt is slightly wider than traditional floss and has a flattened shape. It is common to see dental floss marketed 'with wax', which makes it easier to slide between the teeth.

Dental archDental floss: This is actually dental floss, but already mounted on a structure that is easy to handle and hold, without the user having to roll it between the fingers for comfort. Normally this structure is made of plastic, but there are eco-friendly and 100% biodegradable alternatives.

When to floss?

It is advisable to use dental floss just before brushing, and to do so at least once a day. A very common mistake among users is to use dental floss just after brushing, although the ideal is to use it before, sliding it in the space between tooth and tooth, in all the dental pieces of our mouth. Once you see how much debris it catches, you won't be able to stop using it.

Ideally, we'd like to floss with every oral hygiene, and ideally after every meal, but the truth is that the hectic pace of modern life doesn't always allow us to do so. So getting the balance right means choosing our best time of day to devote a little more time to our oral health, usually in the evening. 

Author: Maica Davó