Flossing tips using ecofloss
Here are a few tips to help with flossing using ecofloss. Flossing is like any skill you learn, it takes time to master it. Yes it is fiddly initially, yes you will have floss everywhere and not achieve much. Stick at it and it becomes a simple 30 second task.
Flossing should be done at least once daily. Night time is a good time to floss. Saliva production is reduced over night so we want to remove the maximum amount of food debris and plaque prior bed. Saliva protects our teeth.
Hold your ecofloss bottle upside down before drawing out the floss. This helps prevent the ecofloss dropping from the dispenser top when you cut the length off.
Get yourself a decent length – you want to be able to hold it comfortably and skimping on it makes flossing a very tricky job. About 30 cm is a great length.
Wrap it around your hands or fingers until you end up with a short section between both hands – this will help you control it.
Gently slide the ecofloss between the teeth. Curve it around the surface of one tooth so it follows the shape of the tooth and gently slips under the gum surface.
Once you have the floss in between the tooth gently move up and down, in and out against the surface of one tooth. Switch to the other tooth. Curve the floss around the surface of the other tooth and do the same. Essentially you are just wiping or scraping the plaque off each surface of the tooth.
Do between each tooth – don’t forget to do around the backs of the back teeth. You will be amazed what you find there.
It hurts when I floss
If it hurts you are probably pushing the floss straight down between the teeth hitting the papilla (the pointy bit of gum between the two teeth). This does hurt and may also bleed. Curve the ecofloss around to follow the contour of the tooth as you get it between the teeth. Then it won’t hurt.
The bamboo ecofloss is slightly thicker – this takes a bit of getting used to, however I simply love how much plaque it removes. I found it a little uncomfy the first few times. If you have slightly larger gaps between your teeth the bamboo charcoal ecofloss is perfect for you.
Flossing makes my gums bleed
This actually means you need to floss more. First check that it is not hurting when you floss, if it does, read the above section. If it is not hurting when you floss but is bleeding you have infection present or gingivitis.
Gums (gingiva) don’t like plaque, they react by swelling and growing more blood vessels to try to heal. This tissue is also more fragile. This is why it bleeds when you floss (it may also bleed biting into apples, cheese etc). This is gingivitis – gingiva= gums, itis = infection, infection in the gums.
With regular flossing and brushing the gums will settle back to health and stop bleeding. This should occur within about 1 week with good flossing and brushing. If it has not stopped bleeding do go see your dentist. You may have early periodontal disease (gum and bone disease).
Periodontal disease needs dentist intervention to halt the progression. Hard deposits (calculus) form on the teeth which you can’t remove with brushing and flossing alone. Usually a good clean (scale and polish) will get this under control and your gums will turn back to healthy, non bleeding gums.
If periodontal disease is not stopped early it will progress to bone loss, the teeth start to look long, eventually they become loose due to bone loss and can fall out or need extraction. We don’t want this! Good brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist regularly will prevent this.
My floss shreds or breaks when I floss
If your floss is shredding or breaking it is time to see the dentist. Your tooth surface should be smooth and not damage the floss. If the floss is breaking there are several reasons why the surface of the tooth may be rough. All require checking by the dentist.
Cavity – there may be a decayed area. The surface of the tooth then breaks down causing rough areas which catch the floss. You need to see a dentist and will need to get this fixed. Left unfixed it becomes bigger and badder.
Calculus or tartar – this is a hard calcium type deposit that builds up on teeth. Left there it will cause damage to the surrounding tissues and bone. You can’t remove it (see above picture)– see your dentist.
Filling overhang – sometimes fillings can have small ledges or overhangs that catch the floss. Sometimes these can be removed easily. If not your dentist may suggest you continue flossing but let go of one end and drag the floss through rather than trying to pull it up and out between the teeth.
Flossing pulls out my fillings
Actually it doesn’t. If that filling came out with flossing it was about to fall out anyway and it’s definitely time you go and see your dentist.
What do I do with the ecofloss when I’m finished?
Put it in the rubbish (or the silk ecofloss can go directly into the garden or compost).
Don’t flush it down the toilet – this causes problems at the waste disposal unit.
Don’t reuse it – it is single use.
I read recently that flossing is not necessary
Be careful what you read and hear from the media – remember the media is not always correct.
This is what the media releases have been about.
A recent Cochrane report looked at flossing and reduction on gum disease and tooth decay. Cochrane reports gather all the studies ever done together and then look at only studies that have been done correctly and scientifically. Once they had gathered the reports that found only 12 trials that were useable, of these trials 7 were thought to be at risk of being biased, and 5 were more than likely biased ie, not done in a correct scientific manner. Essentially they had no good data to study.
They found that flossing did make a statistically significant difference in plaque levels at 1 and 3 months. However because the studies available were not of good scientific standard the evidence become unreliable. So in summary they are not saying that flossing does not work – they are saying the studies were not good enough.
In my personal 20 years experience (and I think all dentists will agree) it works. I have found if I can get a person at risk or with active decay and gum disease to brush and floss well plus follow good diet the decay and gum disease can be stopped and even reversed.
I will always floss – if you keep it simple – look at how much you get out from in between your teeth with flossing. Try flossing after brushing and see just how much plaque is still there after brushing, it’s amazing. You can’t deny the evidence found on your very own floss.