Tucked away in a bathroom drawer or medicine cabinet, most of us possess that little plastic dental floss dispenser. Whether you diligently use your floss every day (good for you!) or have entirely forgotten it exists (not so good), how much do you truly understand about that robust string? Let’s explore!
Flossing boasts a history spanning hundreds of years. FACT: It has been slightly over two centuries since Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, a dentist in New Orleans, recommended waxed silk thread to his patients for cleaning between their teeth. While various tools for removing food particles between teeth have existed since prehistoric times, this marks the first official invention of dental floss.
Brushing adequately equals flossing. FICTION: While brushing effectively removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from your enamel, there are areas where bristles can’t quite reach. Floss was specifically designed to clean plaque and food from between the teeth and close to the gum line, where your brush may not reach.
Multiple methods exist for cleaning between your teeth. FACT: Absolutely! There is a wide array of dental floss varieties (waxed, flavored, round, flat, thick, thin, in a dispenser, attached to miniature floss wands). Additionally, if using any kind of floss proves challenging, alternatives such as water flossers or interproximal brushes are available.
Flossing aids in preventing gum disease. FACT: Although scientific studies haven’t provided definitive answers, daily flossing is strongly recommended to prevent gum disease. Gingivitis, or mild gum disease, results from irritated, inflamed gum tissue responding to bacteria, plaque, and tartar on your teeth. Anything that helps remove these irritants lowers your risk of gum disease.
Flossing helps prevent cavities. FACT: Daily flossing is highly recommended to eliminate food particles and plaque, preventing cavities. While brushing removes plaque from the outer tooth surfaces, flossing is crucial for removing plaque from the hidden areas between your teeth, reducing the risk of interproximal cavities.
Bleeding during flossing is normal. FICTION: Bleeding isn’t a typical reaction to flossing. It could indicate early signs of gum disease caused by plaque and tartar buildup. However, flossing too vigorously or going too deeply below the gum line may cause delicate gum tissue to bleed. Consult Dr. Sindledecker and Dr. Saltz for optimal flossing techniques.
Flossing after every meal is necessary. FICTION: Dental professionals generally recommend brushing twice a day and flossing at least once daily. However, exceptions exist, such as orthodontic patients who may need to floss after eating. For removing food particles, flossing or using interdental picks is sensible after any meal.
Your dentist won’t know if you haven’t been flossing. FICTION: Incorrect. While you can skip flossing a few times and catch up before your appointment, built-up plaque between teeth, red, swollen, or bleeding gums, and signs of gingivitis and interproximal cavities indicate neglected dental habits to both you and Dr. Sindledecker and Dr. Saltz.
It’s never too late to start flossing! FACT: Flossing is a simple, quick, and cost-effective way to preserve tooth and gum health. If you’ve struggled with flossing in the past, ask Dr. Sindledecker and Dr. Saltz for tools and techniques tailored to your needs. Begin now and witness the positive impact at your next checkup!
If you were already acquainted with these flossing facts, excellent! But the true test lies in applying your knowledge. Regular flossing, at least once daily, will yield more rewarding results than blog-quiz accolades—it will gift you with healthier teeth and gums!