Flossing – a vital part of our oral health regime but a step that is skipped by many.
Less than one third of Brits clean between their teeth daily, according to Yougov figures. Men are also less likely to floss than women, at 25% compared to 36%.
But NHS advice says everyone aged 12 years or older should include it in their oral health routine every day.
So why is it so important?
After eating, your saliva does a good job in carrying away any debris. Brushing your teeth also helps to clear the mouth of any leftovers. However this does not stop tiny pieces of food getting wedged in between your teeth.
Cleaning in between your teeth helps to prevent gum disease by ridding the mouth of plaque and food.
But this does not have to necessarily be done using traditional dental floss, either. There are a variety of other products that can help you to maintain a healthy and plaque-free mouth.
These look like tiny toothbrushes. The difference is that they are able to reach the gaps in between your teeth. Interdental brushes are especially useful if you have braces.
Famed for being easy to use, they are just as effective as floss.
Think toothpick – these are often made of wood or plastic and work in a similar way. Be careful not to excessively reuse the pick as this risks just moving the bacteria around the mouth, rather than removing it completely.
Using a handheld product, water flossing involves using a pressurised stream of water to clean away food particles. This option is sometimes recommended alongside another method of flossing. Water flossing is ideal if you have sensitive gums as it can be less painful.
That all said, you can still use a length of good old fashioned floss. Break off around 45cm and wind some around a finger on each hand, holding it tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
According to the NHS, a gentle 'rocking' motion is most effective.
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