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Section Questions and Answers

Cleaning Between The Teeth OR Interdental Cleaning

  • Interdental cleaning refers to cleaning between the teeth.
  • Decay usually starts on the chewing surfaces of teeth and at the contact point between the teeth.
  • Plaque and food particles stick to the teeth in these areas.
  • The bacteria in plaque are able to convert these food particles into acids.
    • It is the major cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
    • You need to be aware of the fact that plaque is being formed continuously.
    • Plaque formation and growth cannot be stopped.
      It can only be controlled by regular daily brushing, flossing and the use of other dental aids.
      This must be accompanied by a six monthly dental scaling and polishing of the teeth.
  • There are two essential daily routines that will prevent decay and gum disease.
    They are to brush your teeth and clean between your teeth, at least twice a day.
  • Tooth brushing is necessary, but it cannot reach between the teeth.
  • Cleaning between the teeth is made possible with the use of dental floss.

  • Why it is important to use dental floss.
    • Dental floss is the best way to clean the tooth surfaces between the teeth.
    • Different types of floss are available, such as regular floss, dental tape and super floss.
    • Floss is also available on a plastic holder, in the shape of a bow. It forms "the string of the bow" and it makes flossing very manageable.

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    Superfloss
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    Dental tape
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    Floss holders
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    Regular floss
  • Here are a few tips for flossing as demonstrated below:
    • Use a 12-15inch (30-40cm) length of floss.
    • Wrap the floss around your middle fingers.
    • Hold the floss between the thumb and forefinger of each hand.
    • Leave about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
    • The floss must be taut when it is used.
    • Gently guide the floss across the contact point between the teeth.
    • When the floss is in position between the teeth, rub it up and down a few times against each tooth surface, one after the other.
    • This is then repeated for all the teeth in the mouth.
    • Be careful not to cut your gums with the floss.
    • A sharp downward thrust of the floss will damage the gum and make it bleed.
    • Your dentist will be happy to show you how to floss, and choose which floss is best for you.
    • The floss holders shown above are easy to use, if you have difficulty using the conventional floss.

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    Floss on hands
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    Floss up
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    Floss down

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