As your Mississauga dentist, we strive to provide not only oral care services in office, we provide knowledge to continue care at home. It is a staple to know that brushing your teeth keeps you on the right track of optimal oral heath, but what other things should you be doing to keep those pearly whites shining and healthy?
Growing up, flossing was not something that was made adamant in my dental routine. We were always told to brush, brush, brush! I faintly remember seeing my mother occasionally use a floss pick whenever she got something stuck between her teeth. I had gotten in trouble for playing with them and having them scattered across my bedroom floor one day. My little sister and I pretended to have little sword fights with them too, a memory I sometimes remember when I use them now.
I remember as I grew older, hearing more and more about the importance of using floss, but I never gave it much thought. I always figured that brushing at least twice a day was enough, and if ever I had a piece of chicken stuck between my teeth, I had a toothpick somewhere. Surely flossing was only for that right?
One morning, I woke up with an unusual sore pain on my bottom right molar. I thought I may had clenched my teeth during sleep, so didn’t pay much mind to it. I got up, did my daily morning routine before work, brushed my teeth and headed out the door. A steady but slightly faint pressure could be felt as I made my way to work but it wasn’t enough to cause a fuss. I spent most of the day not even realizing it was there. Lunch rolled in and I was famished! I was ready to take a bit in that grilled chicken sub and that was the reminder I needed that something was wrong. I continued to ignore it for the next several days, a mistake I shouldn’t have made. As the day progressed, I felt the discomfort more and more. What started as feeling as pressure when I bit down was now a constant throbbing. I decided to bite the bullet and call my dentist. I scheduled an appointment and was hoping for no more than a quick check as my dental phobia was starting to kick in.
At the dental office, the dentist took an x-ray and did a quick exam. Nothing on the x-ray showed anything abnormal which was a relief. Upon closer examination, I remember him asking, “Do you floss?” I responded with only, “when I get food caught between my teeth”. That was when he found the culprit of the pain. A piece of food was wedged between the two back molars. He managed to remove it and I felt almost a quick relief. Who knew such a tiny piece of food trapped caused such a hassle! He reiterated the importance of flossing and brushing. Trapped food can cause irritation, lead to bacteria that can destroy your tooth’s enamel as well as hurt your gums.
I must admit, growing up all those years without incorporating flossing into my routine is hard to get used to now. Did you know, according to Statistics Canada that only about just over a third of Canadians both floss and brush? That’s less than 40%! I still need to remind myself to do so. It can be difficult to use floss especially closer to the back of the mouth but it’s good to know that there are several options to make sure you’re cleaning the proper way.
Traditional string floss – This is your standard minty flavoured string floss that should be a staple in every home. It is a thin string of nylon filaments that help remove food debris that can be missed by traditional brushing only.
Floss picks – This is a little tool has a piece of floss attached to a curve that allows for easy on the go flossing and is smaller in diameter for those little spaces that regular toothpicks can’t reach. It usually has a think toothpick at the end of it so you get two tools in one!
Waterpik – This powerful tool also known as an oral pulse irrigator shoots a steady stream of water between your teeth and gums to flush out food particles. It can be a great addition to your oral care routine in addition to brushing and flossing. There is even a portable version that can be used while you’re in the shower for the extra convenience!
As your Port Credit dentist we know what it takes to provide optimal oral care and all the necessary tools to get you there. Make sure to give us a call at 905-278-4297 today to book your next appointment so we can go over what you need to floss like a boss!