Family and Cosmetic Dentist - Livonia
31574 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, MI 48150
As important as a discussion on the benefits of regular flossing is, proper disposal of used floss is also worth talking about.
Dental floss, especially the newer brands, is conveniently shred-resistant, but unfortunately, that also makes it non-biodegradable. While this means that tossing used dental floss in the garbage isn't ideal, it's still preferable to flushing it down the toilet, where it has the potential to create havoc in the waste processing stations, jamming pumps and causing increased maintenance and delays.
People with septic tanks are also advised not to flush their dental floss, as, in this case, the floss can clog and potentially damage septic tank components if it becomes trapped.
While there is no ideal answer to what to do with used dental floss, it looks like the preferred disposal method is in the garbage, where you're advised to "toss the floss," instead of "flushing the floss."
There's an intruder in your mouth that, if ignored, could make all the difference between a great grin and a miserable mouth. That invader is plaque, an invisible bacterial film that develops on your teeth every day and is the main cause of periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease.
The easiest way to keep plaque under control is to brush at least twice a day, and to floss between your teeth daily to remove the plaque and bacteria that can't be reached with your toothbrush. If you floss faithfully every day, brush your teeth properly and maintain a regular dental visit schedule, plaque never gets a chance to harden into tartar, which is much more difficult to remove and is the first step to the development of gum disease.
There are a number of flosses available today to suit any mouth makeup. For example, are your teeth regularly spaced? Try unwaxed floss, which tends to cover more surface as the fibers separate. If you find the unwaxed version difficult to maneuver between your teeth, try waxed or Teflon-coated floss. Perhaps your teeth are close together? Try narrow, waxed floss - it'll slide more easily between the teeth. And people with widely spaced teeth may want to give the wider dental tape a go.
Once you find a floss that works for you, make sure you're flossing effectively:
By the way, if your gums bleed a bit after you first begin to floss, don't worry! The bleeding will usually stop after a few days. (Call us if it doesn't.)
If you have limited finger dexterity or are simply having trouble getting the hang of conventional flossing, you may want to try the preloaded dental floss that comes on disposable plastic handles. It may be easier to manage, and works as well as conventional floss does. Other options include:
Your choice of floss isn't as important as the fact that you're doing it at all. Ask us to explain more about these interdental aids, and about tips or tools that may make flossing a more efficient process for you.