Dental Care

Dental Floss - Necessity and Use

Are you using dental floss on a regular basis? On this page we will go over a few pointers that are important for you to understand when it comes to flossing. 

Some people never learn the proper technique for flossing, and even though they practice it diligently they never really manage to do it the right way. 

Dental flossing is done with a piece of string that you use to scrape against your teeth in order to clean them more thoroughly.

But you can't just tear off a piece of floss and pull it up and down between your teeth.  It's very important to draw it tightly alongside each tooth that's being cleaned. 

You do this properly by exerting pressure against the floss so that it scrapes the tooth, including the top where it meets the gum line.

And then you have to pay the same special attention in scraping the side of the tooth immediately next to it.  So, even though it seems you can just run it up and down or back and forth between your teeth, that's just not the case. 

By exerting the proper pressure, you are actually using the piece of floss to scrape away plaque that your toothbrush left behind.  Your tooth floss, in essence, is one more chance to scrub at the surface of each tooth. 

dental floss

We mentioned running the floss all the way to the gum line: It's vital that you draw it right against the tooth where it enters the gum.  That's because most of the plaque not cleaned away by brushing adheres below the gum line, and it is the reason why gingivitis and other gum disease get the opportunity to flourish.  You should not, however, floss your gums.  Running the string along the gums will do nothing but irritate them and open them up to the invasion of germs. 

You have to remember what you've read elsewhere on this site -that plaque is a mixture of saliva, dead cells, old food particles, and bacteria.  It forms a sticky white film on your teeth, and it hardens quickly into tartar.  Floss is an important tool in fighting plaque and avoiding tartar.

A New Orleans dentist named Levi Spear Parmly invented dental floss in 1815, but it wasn't marketed to the public until the late 1800s.  Even so, floss was poorly greeted by consumers, who ignored it until it was more or less re-invented using nylon fibers by Dr. Charles Bass around the time of World War II.

If you ask people whether they brush their teeth at least twice a day, they will mostly respond with a vigorous yes!  But when you ask about flossing, people tend to hesitate.  In truth, approximately 30% of Americans use dental floss on a daily basis. And those figures don't tell us whether any of them floss twice a day, as they should. 

Flossing has picked up in recent years with the development of the floss pick.  Although inventors were playing around with silk on a toothpick a century ago, it wasn't until the early 1990s when it splashed across consumers' radar. 

The floss pick, in case you haven't tried one, is a handy plastic toothpick-like instrument with a Y on the end, with nylon string stretched between the points of the Y.  For a society ever busier with a full day of appointments and errands, it means that getting rid of food stuck between the teeth no longer has to wait until you get home. 

Individual brands of floss are evaluated for effectiveness just like toothbrushes and mouthwashes.  The American Dental Association will not give its seal to a brand unless it has submitted to a clinical trial and demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in the oral health of test subjects. 

Various types of dental floss include waxed and unwaxed, dental tape, flat floss and round floss, and even advanced fiber floss or woven floss

Most types are marketed so that they appeal to specific groups of people.  If you say you want a deep-clean feeling after you floss, you might do well with a microfiber dental floss that's coated in a mint flavoring. 

Some brands have a specific approach to the materials and coating used for dental floss. In this way, Colgate total floss pretends to be different and more effective when it comes to flossing.

If you have braces or a bridge, your best choice is the use of a floss threader, a simple device that helps you to get to all those difficult places.

For those who like a more substantial flossing material for use on teeth that are more widely spaced, dental tape is gaining popularity. 

People who experience gum disease most often notice gum tenderness or bleeding as the first obvious symptoms.  If you're among them, then you should ask yourself if you are flossing twice a day.  And if you are, then you need to reevaluate your flossing technique. 

In most cases, you can alleviate your symptoms by going to the dentist and having a routine -but thorough- cleaning

The dentist or his hygienist will show you proper flossing technique, and they will be happy to watch you as you show them how you've been doing it. 


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