While an estimated 40% of South Africans who floss regularly are not using the correct technique, less than a third actually do floss regularly.
This is according to Stella Lamprecht, president of the Oral Hygienists Association of South Africa.
The importance of flossing – and using the correct technique when doing so – are highlighted during National Oral Health Month, which is marked in September.
“Traditional string floss is popular and effective when used correctly. There is not 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,” says Lamprecht.
According to Dirna Grobbelaar, Ivohealth’s oral hygiene advisor, the first step is understanding why flossing is important.
“It’s a simple step to help prevent bad breath, cavities and gum disease. 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.”
Globbelaar warns that poor oral hygiene can have long-term health consequences.
- “These include diabetes and heart disease. Taking proper care of your mouth – brushing twice daily and flossing once – is important for overall health. People with bridges, implants or orthodontic braces may find it more awkward, but in those cases, it is as important as ever.” People can vote for their favourite #GUMEssentialWorkers on the website ivohealth.co.za. A smile-worthy Sunstar Gum oral-care kit, valued at more than R800, is up for grabs. On behalf of every voter, Sunstar Gum will also donate plaque-disclosing tablets and a toothbrush to children in poorly resourced areas.