The natural “pocket” that exists between your gums and teeth is a safe haven for oral bacteria. Fortunately, when we keep it clean, our mouth stays healthy and we don’t have to worry about anything. But as bacterial plaque collects in those sulcus areas, it can lead to inflammation, bleeding, tissue detachment, and bone loss – all symptoms of gum disease.
Flossing is the most effective way to clean the gum pockets around our teeth. But if using floss is a challenge for you, you may decide to give the habit up completely. Your family or cosmetic dentist in The Woodlands may recommend one of these flossing alternatives or modifications to make the process easier (and more effective):
Using a Water Flosser
Water flossers (such as the popular WaterPik brand) are excellent for flushing bacteria and loose biofilm out of hard-to-reach gum pockets. Although they can be a bit messy, hydroflossers can reach even deeper under the tissues to access areas that traditional floss can’t get to.
It can take a bit of practice to get the hang of using a water flosser. But their effectiveness and adjustable controls make them ideal for almost anyone. There are even designs available that can be mounted in your shower (eliminating the concern of making a mess!)
And here’s a tip: water flosser tips are usually interchangeable and hygienic enough to share with the family.
Switching to a Floss Holder
One of the most common flossing accessories for people to turn to is the small, handheld floss picks. They’re only a few inches long and have a small strip of floss on the end. Unfortunately, their lack of angles also makes them nearly impossible to use where it matters most: between your teeth and down under the gums.
Long story short, one of the better options to use is a floss holder or floss handle. These larger, curved appliances allow you to wrap your own strand of floss onto them. Instead of being straight, their forked design reaches out and down, allowing you to slide it further between teeth. There are even disposable options available where the curved extension is pre-loaded with floss.
Trying “Super” Floss
Super floss is a special type of strand floss where the ends are stiff, but the middle is tufted like a piece of yarn. Instead of needing a floss threader to weave it under bridges or around dental implants, the super floss can glide between teeth and is easy to pull through on the other side. Plus, the larger width makes it ideal for pulling out debris in areas that tend to collect food or larger amounts of plaque.
If you’ve had gum disease in the past, you can’t afford to not floss your teeth. Otherwise, it’s simply a matter of time before the bacterial buildup under your gums leads to additional tooth mobility and loss. Our Conroe periodontist can help you save your smile and make it easier to care for. Call Dr. Kip Saunders of The Woodlands today to schedule a consultation!