If you want to keep your teeth in the best possible condition, regular brushing and the use of mouthwash won't be enough. You'll also need to incorporate interproximal aids like floss, water picks, proxy brushes, and soft picks. These will remove plaque while helping to keep you out of the dentist office for the treatment of gum disease, gingivitis, and tooth decay.
Everyone should be fully aware that the health of teeth and gums can impact the rest of the human body. Proper oral care will help to prevent a number of serious diseases like heart disease. Ideally, you should use an interproximal aid after every meal. At a bare minimum, you should floss at least once per day. Keep some floss in your purse or in your car so that you can access it while you are away from home. Regular flossing eliminates plaque and tiny bits of food that remain in your mouth even after you brush. There are certain spaces that a toothbrush can't reach. Don't let those food bits sit in your mouth all day long. They'll create plaque and also cause halitosis (bad breath).
When you floss, don't just move the floss up and down in between your teeth. It should be moved in a up and down style of motion so that it can move along all the sides of your teeth to pull out the small pieces of food that lodge between the gums and teeth. Use your interproximal aid to clean underneath the gums as well. The space where the gums meet the bottom of the teeth can accumulate plaque and food particles just like the spaces in between teeth. If you use floss as your interproximal aid, never use the same part of the floss to clean between your teeth. This way, you won't expose your teeth to floss segments that have already been exposed to bits of food and plaque.
The use of interproximal aids will also make your teeth appear more aesthetically pleasing. The flossing action is really a slight scraping of the teeth that serves to remove plaque and actually polish tooth surfaces. When plaque remains on teeth, it causes discoloration. Interproximal cleaners also remove bacteria from the mouth that has the potential to attack tooth enamel and create cavities. The bacteria in your mouth lives within plaque. When you eliminate as much plaque as possible, you'll simultaneously attack your mouth's bacteria.
Since brushing can't remove all the plaque from teeth, the use of an interproximal aid is necessary to complete the job. Dentists believe that brushing only removes 65 percent of plaque. Interproximal aids take care of the remaining 35 percent. Can you imagine cleaning only two thirds of your mouth? That's exactly what happens when you don't make use of interproximal aids.