Flossing and Aging

flossing is important as we ageAs we age many things become more difficult. One of the hardest to deal with is maintaining proper dental care. Because our hands are less flexible and mobile as we get older, oral care becomes increasingly difficult – especially flossing. Flossing involves gripping the hand to hold a very thin piece of floss and getting it into the back of the mouth to make sure all teeth are reached. Limited motor skills or health problems such as arthritis can make this simple task an ordeal. Flossing is incredibly important because it removes and prevents the build up of plaque and food debris between teeth which can cause further gum and tooth problems. Thankfully there are many products on the market today which make it quite simple to obtain the benefits of flossing.

One of the most economical alternatives to dental floss which may help if the hands still have high to moderate mobility is a simple hand held flosser. There are several different types available for purchase. For those who have high mobility, there are disposable floss picks which are usually sold in bags of 90. These are simple pieces of plastic where there is a piece of floss held between to prongs. They offer all the benefits of flossing, but only require one hand to be used. The opposite end also includes a small pick to remove tough food debris and also helps stimulate the gums. There are also more sturdy flossers available which have a longer handle, making it easier to reach the back teeth. These flossers have interchangeable heads. While these do help if there is a lack of mobility in one hand, they are somewhat flimsy and it is likely that several floss picks will have to be used for one flossing.

Another device which is similar to floss picks but is more sturdy is the interdental brush. These are usually recommended for cleaning between the wires of braces, but because of their thicker, sturdy handle, it can also be quite beneficial to the aging person while flossing. Because they have small bristles instead of traditional floss, there is no risk of it breaking while flossing. Another benefit to interdental brushes is that they can be accommodated to the amount of space between teeth. Brushes with longer handles are also available to make reaching the back teeth less difficult for those with limited mobility. If gripping the handle is still difficult, wrap a wash cloth around the handle in order to make it thicker.

One of the best options for those with limited mobility is the automatic flosser, or water pick. These electronic devices use a stream of water to accomplish the same job as traditional floss. A great benefit of using a water pick is that it can be more effective for cleaning that traditional string floss as the water pressure can be adjusted in order to blast tough debris. Another factor that makes it great for use by the elderly is the fact that the pick is attached to a long, thick handle which makes it easily graspable and even easier to reach those normally hard to reach spots. Also, because of the water pressure instead of the back and forth motion of string floss, flossing can be completed in about a minute – which is perfect for those who with limited mobility or cannot stand for long periods of time.

Just because we age does not mean correct oral health care should be neglected. We are still capable of contracting gingivitis and many other sorts of gum problems which could progress into gum disease. There are several alternatives to the traditional floss regimen which should be utilized to keep our smiles bright.

Briana Cameron is a professional blogger and marketing expert, currently writing for Dentistry on Wellington, a Family & Cosmetic Dentistry who pride themselves in quality dental care.

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