WHAT SHOULD I USE TO CLEAN BETWEEN MY TEETH?
Cleaning between your teeth may help prevent cavities and gum disease. Cleaning between your teeth helps remove a sticky film called plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that feed on leftover food or sugar in your mouth. When that happens, it releases an acid that can eat away at the outer shell of your teeth and cause cavities.
If there’s something stuck between your teeth that you want to remove immediately, it can be tempting to use whatever you have handy to clean it out. According to a recent study, most Americans have used ‘unusual items’ including fingernails (61%), folded paper or cards (40%), cutlery (fork, knife, or spoon, 21%), safety pins (14%) and even strands of hair (7%) to remove food stuck between their teeth.
In addition to being less effective than traditional flossing tools, these items can be harmful: 42% of people who used them say they’ve felt pain when using an unconventional item to clean between their teeth.
Instead, stick to using tools designed for cleaning between teeth like dental picks, string floss, tiny brushes that reach between the teeth, and water flossers.
Talk to your dentist, and try different options until you find the one that works best for you. For example, dental picks might help you get to hard-to-reach places. Water flossers might be a good option if you have trouble flossing by hand or have dental work that makes flossing difficult, like braces or permanent or fixed bridges. Stick with it and you’ll have adopted a healthy habit for life.
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