dental floss

Our Calgary Dentist’s Recommendations To Make Flossing A Habit

Our Calgary Dentist’s Recommendations To Make Flossing A Habit

In our Calgary dentist’s last blog post, Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D.S., explained the importance of flossing your teeth every day, in addition to brushing your teeth at least twice per day.  According to our Calgary dentist, flossing your teeth is important because dental floss cleans between your teeth, where your toothbrush cannot adequately reach.  In fact, if you only brush your teeth and leave out the flossing, you are missing more than one third of the total surface area of your tooth!  

By flossing your teeth daily with the proper technique outlined by our Calgary dentist in our last blog post, you are removing the bacteria and plaque that has accumulated between your teeth during the day. 

Plaque is an invisible bacterial film that coats your teeth and is the main cause of gum disease.   Removing this plaque is important because it only takes between 24 and 36 hours for plaque to harden into tartar (calculus), which can then only be removed by your Calgary dentist or dental hygienist.  By flossing once per day, plaque doesn’t get the chance to harden into tartar, making your next visit to your Calgary dentist that much easier and decreasing your overall risk of developing gum disease and cavities.


Although you are likely aware of the benefits of flossing, you may not be aware that there are several options available to get this very important job done.  Our Calgary dentist always recommends trying different dental flossing devices if you feel that you need a little extra help flossing your teeth, or if you just don’t like using dental floss.  Below our Calgary dentist outlines some of these different flossing methods that can help make flossing your teeth both easier to do and easier to work into your daily oral care routine.  


The last time you were in the oral care section of your supermarket, you may have noticed that there are many different kinds of dental floss available.  Often, our Calgary dentist is asked what type of dental floss works the best.  According to our Calgary dentist, the answer to that question is, it depends on the person and their teeth.  Here are some of the available types of dental floss on the market and the benefits of using them (taken from the Oral B website):

Unwaxed Dental Floss.  Unwaxed dental floss is generally made of nylon and consists of approximately 35 strands of nylon that have been twisted together. According to our Calgary dentist, the benefit of unwaxed floss is that, if you have tight spaces between your teeth, it can fit easily between these tight spaces, although this type of dental floss can be prone to both breaking and shredding quite easily.

Waxed Dental Floss.  Waxed dental floss is also usually made from nylon but has a light waxy coating on it. Although our Calgary dentist finds that waxed dental floss does tend to break less often, some people find that the wax coating makes the floss harder to fit into tight spaces between their teeth.

Dental Tape.   Dental tape is usually both flatter and wider than standard waxed or unwaxed dental floss.  Like dental floss, you can buy dental tape either waxed or unwaxed.  If you have larger spaces between your teeth, our Calgary dentist advises that you may find that dental tape is more comfortable to use than standard floss.

Flavoured Dental Floss.  According to our Calgary dentist, although there is no health benefit to using a flavoured dental floss, it may make flossing your teeth more enjoyable and leave a fresh feeling in your mouth after flossing.  It can also be a great way to encourage younger children to floss their teeth, with some dental flosses coming in a variety of flavours that appeal to both children and adults alike.  

If you are using a certain type of dental floss and it is not working for you, our Calgary dentist recommends trying a different version or brand of dental floss to find the ones that work for your teeth.


If you find that it is difficult for you to hold dental floss, or have difficulty reaching your back teeth, our Calgary dentist recommends trying a dental floss pick. 

A dental floss pick is a small plastic tool with a handle that holds the dental floss for you.  Our Calgary dentist often recommends this type of flossing device for children as well as for adults who may not have the dexterity to hold and manoeuvre their dental floss properly.  For children, many oral health care brands make dental floss picks in smaller sizes for smaller hands.  Some dental floss picks are disposable, and other come with refillable floss heads.  If you have never tried a dental floss pick, at your next visit with your Calgary dentist, ask for a few samples to try to see if they work for you.


An interdental brush is a flossing device that has a small handle with a small brush on the end.  This brush is used by placing the brush between your teeth and cleaning between the teeth, much like you would do with dental floss.  Like dental floss picks, our Calgary dentist often recommends the use of interdental brushes when patients find dental floss difficult to handle because of problems with hand dexterity.

Interdental brushes come in different sizes and with angled and regular heads.   If you are interested in using an interdental brush, speak with your Calgary dentist or hygienist who can instruct you on the proper use of an interdental brush and recommend a size that works for you.


Although it can be tempting and the name is misleading, our Calgary dentist advises to never use a toothpick to clean between your teeth.  One of the main reasons our Calgary dentist always advises to avoid using a toothpick (or for that matter any other object) to clean between your teeth is that the toothpick can damage your gums and even break off and get stuck in your teeth.  Although our Calgary dentist loves to see your smile, this is not the reason we want to see you for.

If you have any concerns about your or your family’s oral healthcare, our Calgary dentist has appointments available at a time that is convenient for your and your family’s busy lifestyle.  You can also call our Calgary dentist office at 403.283.4252 and one of our friendly team members would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.  Our Calgary dentist places an emphasis on preventative dentistry and always welcomes new patients to his practice in the beautiful community of Kensington / Sunnyside / Hillhurst in NW Calgary.  Call us today.  It would be our privilege to be your partner in your dental health!

This blog post written by our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D.S., is for informational purposes only.  It is not to be taken or used as a substitute for dental, medical or other professional advice, treatment or diagnosis.  Always ask your dentist, physician or other healthcare professional for advice before altering your diet or healthcare routine.  Individual patient needs and oral healthcare concerns vary so please consult your dentist for more information about your specific dental health requirements.

Copyright 2021: Dirk A. Thompson Professional Corporation operating as Advance Your Health Dental.  Dr. Dirk A. Thompson, D.D.S., is a general dentist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

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