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Facts on Flossing

PLAQUE
Plaque is a sticky layer of material that contains germs that accumulates on teeth, including places where toothbrushes can’t reach. This can lead to gum disease. The best way to get rid of plaque is to brush and floss your teeth carefully every day. The toothbrush cleans the top and the sides of your teeth. Dental floss cleans in between them.

SHOULD I FLOSS?
Yes. Floss removes plaque and debris that adhere to teeth and gums in between teeth, polishes tooth surfaces, and controls bad breath. Floss is the single most important weapon against plaque, perhaps more than the toothbrush. Many people just don’t spend enough time flossing or brushing-and many have never been taught to floss or brush properly. When you visit your dentist or hygienist ask to be shown.

WHICH TYPE OF FLOSS SHOULD I USE?
Dental floss comes in many forms: waxed and unwaxed, flavored and unflavored, wide and regular. Wide floss or dental tape may be helpful for people with a lot of bridgework. Tapes are usually recommended when the spaces between teeth are wide. They all clean and remove plaque about the same. Waxed floss might be easier to slide between tight teeth or tight restorations. However, the unwaxed floss makes a squeaking sound to let you know your teeth are clean. Bonded unwaxed floss does not fray as easily as regular unwaxed floss, but does tear more than waxed floss.

HOW SHOULD I FLOSS?
There are two flossing methods: the spool method and the loop method. The spool method is suited for those with manual dexterity. Take an 18-inch piece of floss and wind the bulk of the floss lightly around the middle finger. (Don’t cut off your finger’s circulation!) Wind the rest of the floss similarly around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger takes up the floss as it becomes soiled or frayed. Maneuver the floss between teeth with your index fingers and thumbs. Don’t pull it down hard against your gums or you will hurt them. Don’t rub it side to side as if you’re shining shoes. Bring the floss up and down several times forming a “C” shape and be sure to go below the gum line.

The loop method is suited for children or adults with less nimble hands, poor muscular coordination or arthritis. Take an 18-inch piece of floss, and make it into a circle. Tie it securely with three knots. Place all of the fingers, except the thumb, within the loop. Use your index fingers to guide the floss through the upper teeth.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I FLOSS?
At least once a day. To give you teeth a good flossing, spend at least two or three minutes.

WHAT ABOUT FLOSS HOLDERS?
You may prefer a prethreaded flosser or floss holder, which often looks like a little hacksaw. Flossers are handy for people with limited dexterity, for those who are just beginning to floss, or for caretakers who are flossing someone else’s teeth.

IS IT SAFE TO USE TOOTHPICKS?
In a pinch toothpicks are effective at removing food between teeth, but for daily cleaning of plaque between teeth, floss is recommended. Toothpicks come round and flat, narrow and thick. When you use a toothpick, don’t press too hard or you can damage your gums.

DO I NEED A WATER PICK (irrigating deice)?
Don’t use water picks as a substitute for toothbrushing and flossing. But they are effective around orthodontic braces that retain food in areas the toothbrush cannot reach. However, they do not remove plaque. Water picks are frequently recommended for persons with periodontal disease when recommended by your dentist. Solutions containing antibacterial agents like chlorhexidine or tetracycline, available through a dentist’s prescription, can be added to the reservoir.


~ This information was compiled for you by the Academy of General Dentistry.. Your dentist is a member of the Academy who cares about long-term dental health for you and your family. Members of the Academy’s 32,000 general dentist in the United States and Canada participate in an ongoing program of professional development and continuing education that keeps them up to date in dentistry. ~


 

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Below are some of the communities in the New Orleans area proudly served by the dentists and staff at New Orleans Dental Center :

Eastbank:
New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, Harahan, River Ridge, Chalmette, Arabi, Meraux and all the communities of Orleans, Jefferson and Saint Bernard Parishes.
Westbank:
Algiers, Avondale, Barataria, Belle Chasse, Boothville, Braithwaite, Bridge City, Buras, Crown Point, Devant, Empire, Gretna, Harvey, Jean Lafitte, Jesuit Bend, Lafitte, Marrero, Nairn, Pilottown, Point A La Hache, Port Sulphur, Terrytown, Waggaman, West Pointe A La Hache, Westwego and all the communities of Orleans and Jefferson Parishes.
River Parishes: Boutte, Des Allemands, Destrahan, Good Hope, Hahnvlle, Luling, New Sarpy, Paradis, St. Rose and all the communities of St. Charles, St. John and Ascension Parishes.

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New Orleans Dental Center
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Harvey, LA 70058
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