September is National Oral Health Month, and dental experts are sharing a ‘hack’ for a healthier mouth, which will only take a minute or two each day and can help you enjoy a longer life. Taking your oral care up a level is as easy as adding floss to your daily routine and making sure you clean in-between correctly.
It’s estimated that less than a third of South Africans floss regularly and, according to Stella Lamprecht, President of the Oral Hygienists’ Association of South Africa (OHASA), many of them do it incorrectly.
Here are 5 ways to add interdental cleaning to your daily routine and take your oral health to the next level.
“Firstly, understand why it’s important,” said Dirna Grobbelaar, Ivohealth’s Oral Hygiene Advisor. “It’s a simple step to help prevent bad breath, cavities and gum disease. Remember the teeth have five sides and brushing only cleans three. If not removed with floss or another interproximal tool, food particles and invisible bacteria remain trapped between the teeth.
“Poor oral hygiene can have long-term health consequences, including diabetes, heart disease, pre-term and low-birthweight babies. Taking proper care of your mouth – which means brushing twice daily and flossing once – is important for your overall health.”
Who needs to do it? Apparently, everyone who has teeth. Just because you don’t have much ‘space’ between your teeth isn’t a license not to floss! Even children should clean in-between once the teeth begin to touch, which is often when permanent teeth appear. People with bridges, implants or orthodontic braces may find it more awkward but in those cases, it is as important as ever.
When is the best time to clean in-between? Stella Lamprecht recommends “at least once a day, preferably at night, before going to bed. Whether you brush or floss first doesn’t matter, the main thing is to do it consistently every day.” Grobbelaar recommends doing it at a regular time each day so it becomes a habit that you don’t even think about, an integral part of your daily oral care routine.
There isn’t a one size fits all approach. People have varied lifestyles, dexterity and spaces between the teeth. Finding an interdental tool that suits you, can make a life-changing difference.
Traditional string floss is popular and effective when used correctly. Unfortunately, according to Lamprecht, about 40% of patients who do floss regularly are not using the correct technique. If you’re just learning to floss or have limited dexterity or poor eye-hand coordination, you may find floss on a handle easier to use.
Tiny reusable interdental brushes are ideal to reach the back teeth or when you have wider gaps, bridges, braces or receding gums. Oral irrigators, using air or water to dislodge food and bacteria, can be helpful, particularly for people who can’t get to grips with floss or other interproximal tools.
“If you’re unsure about which floss or tool is right for you, ask your dentist or oral hygienist. They would love to help you make cleaning in-between a daily habit,” said Grobbelaar.
For Dirna Grobbelaar’s step by step guide on how to ‘floss like a boss’ and ace your interdental cleaning routine click here https://bit.ly/Interdental-Cleaning.
Feel good and do good this September with the #GUMEssentialWorkers
Vote for your favourite #GUMEssentialWorkers this September, National Oral Health Month, for a chance to win a smile-worthy Sunstar GUM oral care kit (valued at over R800) and to support the Dental Wellness Trust & Foundation. Sunstar GUM will donate plaque disclosing tablets and a toothbrush on behalf of every voter, so you’ll be helping equip children in poorly resourced areas, with tools to maintain good oral health for life. To enter, simply vote for your preferred interdental tool or floss here https://bit.ly/GUMEssentialWorkers. Ts & Cs apply.