A toothbrush is essential for healthy teeth – but there are places that it cannot reach. A good 30 percent of the tooth surface is between the teeth and these areas too should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent deposits and bacteria.
Many of us do not take enough care of this area at all, which can later come to haunt you in the form of high medical bills and damaged teeth. So it’s best to use prevention and clean the spaces between your teeth.
This is precisely where flossing comes into play. It facilitates the nitty-gritty clear out of the interdental space. Also, the right technology is just as important as a suitable variant.
What is Floss?
Flossing serves to clean the (interdental) spaces between the teeth of dental plaque, bacteria, and food scraps. The dental profession recommends using it as a supplement to the daily cleaning of your choppers: The application, in particular, helps prevent dental caries, but also periodontitis.
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However, the effectiveness or the benefit-harm ratio of the use of dental floss is controversial.
Dental floss can be made of plastic (nylon, polyethylene) or silk and is available in unwaxed and waxed versions as well as with PTFE coating (Teflon, Gore-Tex). Furthermore, there is floss that is impregnated with fluorides or peppermint flavors.
See the (Power Of Fluoride).
Although waxed and coated dental floss slides more efficiently over the tooth surfaces, in practice, it also slips more easily through the fingers. However, the cleaning effect of waxed and unwaxed dental floss does not differ.
Flossing the interdental spaces with dental floss is a supplement to the removal of dental plaque with the toothbrush since with this conventional procedure only about 70 percent of the tooth surfaces can be cleaned.
In parts of Europe, the use of dental floss is relatively uncommon: According to rough estimates, about 20 percent of the population has it in the household, but regularly it is only used by about 5 percent.
In the US, the use of dental floss is far more widespread, where about 34 percent of the population uses it daily. Responsible for this is the prevalent use of dental hygienists (dental prophylactic helpers) in the USA – Way to go!
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Some History on the Stuff!
Similar materials such as dental floss or toothpicks have been used by prehistoric humans, as indicated by grooves on the found teeth.
The dentist Levi Spear Parmly (1790-1859, New Orleans, USA) is credited with the invention of modern dental floss. In 1815 he recommended tooth cleaning with silk threads (untwisted silk yarn).
The company Codman and Shurtleft began in 1882 with the production of unwaxed dental floss. Johnson and Johnson patented its use in 1898.
Before the Second World War, flossing was very low in the United States. Then the physician Charles C. Bass came along and developed a product made of nylon threads, which is still in common use today. This was more elastic, did not rub off so quickly and did not tear so fast.
After the Second World War, flossing was widely promoted in the United States.
So Why Do It?
Bacterial deposits or plaque lead, on the one hand, to the creation of acid attack and if not prevented ultimately to the formation of caries. On the other hand, through the accumulation of certain toxins, it can come to the inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), the precursor of periodontitis.
The interdental spaces are so-called predilection sites for the development of both diseases, as they are often neglected in daily oral hygiene.
The aim is to remove the dental plaque between the teeth where cleaning with the toothbrush is only partially possible.
While it cleans the outer, inner and occlusal surfaces of the teeth very effectively – the bristles hit the surface of the teeth at a 45-degree angle when done efficiently only partially reaching the interdental spaces. This mechanical force is not enough to remove the plaque.
In the interdental spaces, the neighboring teeth touch each other at the contact points. Directly below these points of contact are the sites where caries often develops.
Which Dental Floss?
Conventional dental floss is best for most users with normal-time intervals. Velcro flosses are the appropriate choice for bridges or braces.
For those of you who do not like the incisive feel of the thin threads on their fingers, floss sticks can be better suited. This is a piece of dental floss that is stretched on a hand-held frame, with which the interdental spaces are cleaned.
If you are still unsure about it, then you should consult with your dentist. He or she will be able to explain the pros and cons of the different varieties that are out there.
If you already have a suitable dental floss to hand, then read on and allow this guide to give you some valuable tips for the correct application and technique.
The Correct Technique is Easy to Learn:
Take about 16-20 inches of floss and wrap it around your fingers so that a 2-inch long piece of thread can slide between your teeth. Whether the index or middle fingers are used is entirely up to personal taste.
Using a zigzag movement, gently insert the floss into the interdental space without injuring the gums. Use caution especially with small tooth distances!
Then the floss is placed in a U-shape around the tooth. You can start by moving the floss up and down, sliding slightly below the gum line. Avoid jerky movements or sawing so as not to damage the gums. Up and down instead of back and forth, please!
After a few times, you can let the floss slide up out of the gap and repeat the previous steps on the next tooth. Use a fresh section of the floss each time to avoid spreading the bacteria.
After cleaning every gap, rinse your mouth with lukewarm water or mouthwash. In this way, you prevent dissolved impurities from remaining in the oral cavity.
Are Bleeding Gums Normal?
Especially if you have never used dental floss, it can lead to bleeding. However, this will disappear after a few applications. If this is not the case, then it is best to contact your dentist to discuss possible problems and the correct technique with him.
Regular bleeding gums are always an alarm signal and should therefore not be taken lightly!
Sounds very simple and it can make all of the difference. Makes you wonder why so few people are doing it.
So, it is best to make flossing a daily ritual with a perfect brush for your gums. The ideal method is to use a toothbrush and floss together alternately. Remember to start with the flossing and then apply the brush. With some practice, it will not only go faster and become a daily routine, but together with the standard brushing and regular dental checks, it will contribute to optimal dental health.
If you only find the time to clean your interdental spaces every other day, then that’s better than doing without it at all. Small tip: use mouthwash. Even though it makes cleaning faster and more convenient, it is not to be substituted for the real thing. Don’t be lazy and give up on your teeth!
Charcoal & Dental Floss – Waxed or Not?
There is a wide range of dental flosses that consist of the waxed and unwaxed varieties. Both remove the largest deposits without problems.
However, the beginners among you could benefit from waxed dental floss, as it slips slightly between your teeth and minimizes the risk of injury. Otherwise, it’s more a matter of personal preference.
There are also different types of techniques to keep your teeth healthy, like charcoal. The main solution is to whiten your teeth using charcoal which sounds disgusting but it works!
Using dental floss is far more important to dental health than the issue of whether to use waxed filaments or not. The amounts of fluoride added are only of marginal importance if fluoridated toothpaste is used.
Only with wide tooth spaces, implants, clips or bridges can the choice of dental floss be important. Wide tooth gaps can be cleaned much easier with wide or fluffy threads than with conventional floss.
So, you are all set with a step-by-step technique to flossing. Even better, if you didn’t know it already, this fantastic product exists – it’s up to you to use it!