By Dr. Nicole Mariano
One very common comment that people make is that they hate to floss. Not because they are unable to floss, but because they hate using the string. They have never liked it. So I am going to talk about a few alternatives to dental floss and flossers. These items are relatively inexpensive and will make a big difference in the long term care of your mouth.
Before we discuss different alternatives to floss, we need to discuss why “flossing” is needed. Flossing the verb used to describe scrubbing in the area in between your teeth that a tooth brush cannot reach. The scrubbing removes the soft, sticky plaque that forms after you eat and drink. Plaque is eaten by bugs (bacteria) that live in your mouth. The bugs digest the plaque and poop out acid. This acid causes cavities and gum disease. This is why you should floss or as we should say, scrub in between the teeth.
The first floss substitute are soft picks. These are “fancy” tooth picks with rubber fingers to help remove plaque. They are used like toothpicks by pushing them in between each tooth. The nice part about them is that they are easy to use and are portable. You can put them in your car, office, purse or desk and use them anytime you think of it. They are sold at any pharmacy, grocery store, dollar store, or retail store that sells dental products.
A water pick is another great alternative to flossing. A water pick is a machine that shoots a jets of water out of the tip. The tip is aimed in between the teeth and power washes the plaque away. They take some time to get the hang of, but work very well. Most people who use them love them and will never go back to using floss again. It may be something to think about using.
Some people love to use brushes called “proxy brushes.” These are small pipe cleaners that fit in between your teeth. They come in different sizes and have different handles. Despite the different shapes and sizes, they are used by pushing them in between the teeth like a tooth pick. Similar to the soft pick, that are easy to use, portable and sold at the same retail locations.
Even if you hate scrubbing in between your teeth with floss, it is important to remove the plaque from in between your teeth. As I always tell people, it does not matter what method you use to remove the plaque, the keys is that is removed. If you hate floss, try some of these alternatives. You never know, you just may like it.