Oral Hygiene: Flossing and Using Mouth Wash

Dental Floss

Flossing may be tedious for some people, but it is just as important as brushing the teeth. The dental floss reaches the contacting surfaces of teeth and removes the plaque formed on them after eating. This plaque is made up of bacteria and food debris, and therefore it needs to be completely cleared out of the teeth.

The area of two contacting surfaces of adjacent teeth is called interdental space.

How to Floss Your Teeth? The Flossing Technique

A large piece of dental floss of about the length from hand to the elbow is cut. It is wrapped around the middle fingers, starting from one edge and holding a small section of roughly one inch length available for flossing.

The floss is put in between the teeth, slowly introducing it into the gingival sulcus, the natural space between the tooth and the gum edge. Once inside the sulcus, the floss is pressed against the surface of the tooth and it is moved back and forth as it slides out. This procedure is repeated in the same interdental space, but this time the floss is pressed against the other adjacent tooth, and entering its sulcus.

After the first interdental space is cleaned, more dental floss is untwined from one of the middle fingers, and the used part is wrapped around the other. This way there is always a clean section of dental floss for flossing every tooth space.

The floss is not supposed to hurt the gums when it is inserted into the sulcus and it is important to be gentle. It is common to experience minor bleeding the first few days of flossing even when the gums are healthy. If other conditions like gingivitis are present, bleeding is expected until it is cured.

Use of Mouth Wash

Mouth washes are intended to aid oral health by diminishing the amount of pathogenic bacteria. They are for therapeutic use and of great help for patients with gum disease and high incidence of tooth decay. These mouth washes are prescribed by dentists.

Chlorhexidine is their main ingredient, an antiseptic substance with varying concentrations according to the problem being targeted. Other commonly added ingredients are xylitol and fluorides. Alcohol based mouth washes must be avoided when possible due to their ability to damage the soft tissues of the mouth.

Other types of mouth washes are considered cosmetic because they do not eliminate the underlying causes of bad breath and oral diseases, but they mask the problem by providing fresh-breath sensations and taste.

The proper technique for using mouthwash is to rinse the mouth with the product for 30 seconds to 1 minute and to spit it out completely. Usually, a waiting time before eating or drinking is specified by the manufacturer.