Even if you brush your teeth faithfully, you will clean only about 60 percent of their surface. The remaining 40 percent, which is between your teeth, should not be neglected. If debris and plaque accumulate between your teeth, you can develop tartar, which is the hardened form of plaque. Tartar buildup on your teeth can lead to gum disease and cavities.

At Well Rooted Dentistry, we recommend regular brushing and regular interdental care for your teeth. Using an effective daily flossing technique, along with antibacterial mouthwash, will clean between your teeth.

Floss Daily

Proper interdental care starts with daily flossing. Dentists recommend flossing at least once a day, but some people choose to floss twice daily. Unfortunately, most Americans do not floss at all.

If you don’t floss much or you have never flossed your teeth, start now! And don’t quit. Flossing should become as regular as brushing.

Experiment with different flossing methods until you find one that you’re comfortable with. If you have dental work that makes flossing with dental floss difficult, a water flosser may be your best option.

How to Floss Your Teeth

Even if you floss daily, you may not be flossing effectively to remove debris and plaque between your teeth and along your gumline. The proper way to use dental floss for interdental cleaning is:

  1. Take about 18 inches of dental floss and wrap most of it around your middle finger. Holding your hands a few inches apart from each other, wrap the remaining dental floss around the middle finger on your other hand (this finger will gather the floss as you use it).
  2. Tightly hold the floss between your hands with your forefingers and thumbs.
  3. Gently guide the floss between each tooth with a sawing motion until you reach your gumline. Take your time and don’t go too deep. You don’t want to injure your gums, though they may bleed if you don’t floss regularly.
  4. Floss both sides of each tooth by running the floss down the tooth to the gumline and then back up. Floss the same space but go up and down the neighboring tooth’s surface. Plaque gathers at the gumline, so be sure to scoop and use back-and-forth motion to dislodge plaque in that location.
  5. As you clean, you should hear a squeaky sound. This indicates that a tooth is clean.
  6. Use a fresh section of floss for each tooth.
  7. When you are finished, throw the dental floss away and rinse with antibacterial mouthwash.

Some people prefer to use pre-threaded flossers. They can do a good job of flossing, but be sure to rinse or replace the flosser between flossing each tooth. Proper flossing may require using one or two pre-threaded flossers. Dispose of the used flossers.

Interdental Brushes

An interdental brush is different than a normal toothbrush. Interdental brushes are used to clean hard-to-floss places between your teeth, like around braces. Bristles on an interdental brush are attached to a thin wire (resembles a pipe cleaner) and a handle.

Use Mouthwash

Your dentist at Well Rooted Dentistry can help you choose the right kind of mouthwash for your oral hygiene. Most commercial mouthwashes help reduce plaque and tartar to protect against gingivitis (early gum disease). Some also provide topical teeth whitening.

Children shouldn’t use mouthwash until they no longer swallow toothpaste. Once a child understands how to spit out toothpaste, he or she may be ready for a children’s mouthwash. Only give children mouthwash specifically formulated for young people.

Don’t Use Toothpicks

You should not use wooden toothpicks to clean between your teeth. Save them to test the doneness of your cakes or for hors d’oeuvres, instead.

Wooden toothpicks can damage gums, making them more susceptible to infection. They may also damage fillings and veneers. If a toothpick breaks, splinters might become stuck in your gums.

Oral Hygiene at Well Rooted Dentistry

At Well Rooted Dentistry, we want all of our patients to have the best dental care and oral hygiene possible. We believe in holistic biological dentistry and provide services and patient education that support this philosophy. Call us now at (401) 443-4007 or email us at dental@biomene.com to schedule your appointment.


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