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Cleaning in between our teeth is an important part of dental hygiene. Usually, this is done with dental floss, though other interdental cleaners may be used. Cleaning between your teeth helps remove a sticky material called plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that live on the leftover sugars and food particles in your mouth. The bacteria eat away at the tooth enamel and can cause cavities and gum disease. Thus, using floss and other interdental cleaners can help keep your mouth in great shape!

Some people have a hard time with conventional flossing techniques, especially if you have braces or dental bridges. In this case, water flossing might be a good idea! These can also be great if you have trouble flossing by hand due to arthritis or other condition. If you continue to have difficulty with the habit of flossing, try different styles (flavored floss, or comfort floss, for example) or cleaners until you find one that works for you. There are many options available to you for cleaning between your teeth: dental floss, a dental pick, a wooden plaque remover, or a pre-strung flosser. If you choose to use a wooden plaque remover, talk to your dentist about how to use it safely so you don’t injure tender gum tissues.

Flossing should not be painful. It is normal for some discomfort to be present when you are first starting out, but if the pain persists for more than a week or two, call your dentist.

Some have asked if it is better to floss before or after you brush. The answer is: it doesn’t matter! The most important thing about flossing or other interdental cleaning is that it gets done, once a day! Before brushing, after brushing, night time, lunch time–anytime is a great time to floss!

Call Open Door Family Dentistry at 541-773-4073 and ask your dentist about the best interdental cleaner for you.