Flossing and Dental Hygiene

Flossing and Dental Hygiene

Aside from brushing and using different kinds of mouthwash to keep our teeth clean and our breath fresh, another important step in dental hygiene we shouldn’t forget is flossing. Through the use of dental floss, plaque and food debris are removed in between our teeth and in spots where a toothbrush can’t reach.

Flossing can be a challenging task to do for most people, but it is very effective because according to the American Dental Association, about 80% of plaque can be removed with this method.

History of Flossing

Researchers have discovered that the idea of cleaning between the teeth was commonplace as early as the Prehistoric period. Marks from floss and toothpicks have been documented in the mouths of prehistoric humans. It has been theorized that twigs were used as toothpicks and horse hair was used as floss to remove food particles stuck between the teeth of early humans.

Earlier versions of the floss were very similar to what we have today bar the few tweaks in the design to simplify and make the process more comfortable and effective. The American dentist, Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, known as the father of dental hygiene and children’s dentistry in America, introduced the idea of using the waxed silken thread as floss in 1815. He regarded flossing as the most efficient way to prevent dental disease.

In the early 1880’s unwaxed silk floss was mass produced by the Codman and Shurleft Company. The Codman and Shurleft Company was later on purchased by Johnson & Johnson. In 1898 the first dental floss patent is granted to Johnson & Johnson. In the 1940s due to the increasing price of silk during the Second World War and due to silks tendency to break it was replaced by nylon. This development was pioneered by Dr. Charles Bass, who is known for establishing flossing an essential part of daily oral hygiene.

In the 1980s the first interdental brush was invented as an alternative to dental flossing. Today we are seeing the use of Gore-Tex a new type of synthetic fiber in some varieties, and the addition of spongy floss and soft floss for sensitive gums. Floss picks have also become quite popular. These picks simplify the process of flossing posterior teeth and around braces.

Through the years the simple dental floss has evolved to a myriad of different products and variations of the one simple string of cotton.

Why Floss?

Flossing is one of the most important parts of dental hygiene. However, there are a lot of people who do not like to floss even though it can help prevent gum disease and cavities. Flossing your teeth is important because it removes plaque and helps prevent its build-up that can lead to tartar.

Flossing is a simple task but it can certainly make your teeth look brighter because it removes excess food particles in your teeth that you might not see in the mirror or in areas that your toothbrush is unable to reach. Aside from that, it also polishes tooth surfaces and it controls bad breath as well. This means that when you floss your teeth regularly, your chance of keeping them for a lifetime will increase and your chance of having gum diseases will decrease.

Types of Dental Floss

Each and every type of dental floss has its pros and cons. Listed below are a few things to keep in mind about the different types of dental floss and as well as some cleaning devices used in conjunction with the dental floss:

Unwaxed floss

 An unwaxed floss is usually made up of 35 pieces of thin nylon strands which are twisted together. It can fit into very tight spaces between your teeth. This is the best type of dental floss if your teeth are close together. However, this type is prone to breakage.

Waxed floss

Waxed floss is just your regular nylon floss with a light wax coating over the string. It is much less prone to breakage compared to unwaxed floss but the wax coating makes it harder to use in tighter spots between your teeth.

Dental tape

This is a much broader and flatter dental floss than the standard floss. It can either be waxed or unwaxed much like regular floss. Individuals with a wider space between their teeth mostly find dental tape as a more comfortable option than standard dental floss.

Polytetrafluorethylene floss (PTFE)

This type of floss slides between the teeth easily and is less prone to shredding and breaking compared to standard floss.

Super flosses

 This type of dental floss is made from yarn-like material that has rigid sections on the end. This type of floss can be used to clean around braces, dental bridges, and other dental works.

Floss threader

 This is a needle-type device through which floss is threaded. The needle allows the floss to be pushed through spaces in and around braces and dental bridges similar to super flosses.

Floss holder

This is a Y-shaped plastic tool about the size of a regular toothpick that holds a length of floss between two prongs. This device can make flossing easier for individuals who have trouble manipulating the floss with their bare hands.

Flossing Products Recommendation

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Glide Oral-B Pro-Health Deep Clean Floss
Johnson & Johnson Reach Mint Waxed Dental Floss
Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Comfort Plus Dental Floss
Listerine Ultra clean Dental Floss
Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Deep Clean Dental Floss
Listerine Ultraclean Access Disposable Snap-On Flosser Refill Heads for Proper Oral Care
Reach Waxed Dental Floss
GUM Flossmate Handle
Woobamboo Eco-Awesome Floss
Radius Vegan Xylitol Soft Floss

Here are a few Flossing products that you may want to try:

1. Glide Oral-B Pro-Health Deep Clean Floss

This dental floss can effectively remove tough plaque between teeth and just below the gum line. It is smooth and has a shred-resistant texture. It slides up easily in tight spaces compared to regular floss. It is one of the recommended dental floss by dentists.

2. Johnson & Johnson Reach Mint Waxed Dental Floss

This waxed dental floss has a fresh minty taste and can remove 52% more plaque compared to non-waxed flosses. It slides easily between teeth and also comes with an extra shred resistant feature.

3. Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Comfort Plus Dental Floss

This dental floss can effectively remove plaque between teeth and below the gum line because of its combined comfort and cleaning power. It can stimulate the gums gently and helps prevent gingivitis. It also contains a light coating of natural wax for improved grip.

4. Listerine Ultraclean Dental Floss

This 30 yards of dental floss can remove small food particles that get stuck between the teeth and around gums which can lead to bad breath. It has a refreshing mint flavor, and it uses shred-resistant technology to flex, stretch and glide easily for an ultimate clean. It helps protect your teeth and gums by effectively removing plaque from hard to reach places that brushing alone may miss for a thorough clean.

5. Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Deep Clean Dental Floss

This dental floss has up to 90% more micro textured surface area than Glide Original, and it slides up to 50% more easily compared to regular floss. This can help you prevent gingivitis and will provide you with a cool blast of clean feeling every time you floss. It also contains a light coating of natural wax for improved grip.

6. Listerine Ultraclean Access Disposable Snap-On Flosser Refill Heads for Proper Oral Care

This dental floss pack includes 28 disposable Snap-on flosser refill heads in mint flavor for use with Listerine Ultraclean Access Flosser, an oral care tool that makes flossing as easy as brushing. They are made with high-tenacity yarn and are designed to withstand breakage. These mint flavored flosser refill heads remove small food particles that get stuck between the teeth and around gums, and that can lead to bad breath.

7. Reach Waxed Dental Floss

This is a 220-yard of waxed dental floss which can easily slide between the teeth. It allows users to clean between their teeth and under the gun lime. It can effectively remove plaque and food particles from the mouth.

8. GUM Flossmate Handle

This is a Y-shaped molded handle which can provide excellent support and control while flossing. It will enable access and thorough cleaning between the teeth. It is a great tool that can help you floss your teeth more effectively. They also come in different colors.

9. Woobamboo Eco-Awesome Floss

This dental floss is made with natural, biodegradable silk, and is coated with natural wax. It is packaged in renewable plant-based plastic. It is finely crafted in Italy. It is an eco-friendly product that will help you keep your teeth plaque-free.

10. Radius Vegan Xylitol Soft Floss

This is a 55-yard soft floss that can clean your teeth effectively without irritating the gums. It is an affordable floss that is 100% vegan. It is created using natural mint, nylon, Tea Tree mint, and candelilla plant wax. It will certainly keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh.

The choices available for a product as basic as dental floss can sometimes be overwhelming, but the key thing about flossing is whatever type of floss you use, what matters is that you use it every day.