Dental hygiene basics – The importance of flossing
There are thousands of teeth-bleaching products available for everyone who might be worried that their teeth are starting to lose their white color, but why should one come to a point where teeth-bleaching products are a necessity?
Remember – no teeth-whitening product is a replacement for what is considered a dental care routine – daily flossing.
Yellowed teeth isn’t the only problem a person who doesn’t floss might face, there are others, more serious ones, which, if left untreated, may turn out to be serious.
This blog post should inform you about the benefits of flossing, and the troubles which might befall you should you avoid taking flossing seriously.
Floss basics and history
Dental floss is a cord of thin filaments which are used to remove food and dental plaque from between the teeth. The floss is gently inserted between the teeth and curved against the side of a tooth in a “C” shape, and then gently wiped under the gumline to the tip a few times, repeated between all of the teeth.
It is fairly simple and becomes an instinct-like activity after only a few times of trying it out.
In 1815, Levi Spear Parmly introduced flossing as an efficient way to prevent dental disease. His concepts relating to oral disease causation and prevention influence today’s dental practitioners – it is no wonder why some have dubbed him the apostle of dental hygiene. He recommended that people should clean their teeth using a silk floss, which would not be commercially available until 1882 when the Codman and Shurtleft company started to produce unwaxed silk floss. In 1898, the Johnson & Johnson Corporation received the first patent for dental floss made out of the same silk material used by the doctors for silk stitches.
During the 1940s the price of silk rose and it had a tendency to shred, thus it became replaced with silk. This is credited to Dr. Charles Bass, who is known for making floss an essential part of daily oral hygiene.
Exact date of the first use of dental floss is not known, but researchers have found evidence that floss used to exist as far back as prehistoric times. Grooves from floss and toothpicks have been found in the mouths of prehistoric humans, and it is suggested that twigs were uses as toothpicks and horse hair was used as floss.
Benefits of flossing
Flossing, when combined with toothbrushing, can help prevent halitosis and gum disease. In 2012 a review of trials researchers found “some evidence from twelve studies that flossing in addition to toothbrushing reduces gingivitis compared to toothbrushing alone”.
Floss is designed to clean the tight spaces between the teeth and the gap between the teeth and the gums. Antimicrobial mouthwash can kill the bacteria that form plaque, but it can’t remove the tartar and bits of food lodged between the teeth.
It is a well-known fact that tooth and gum disease can have effects that go far beyond bad breath, yellowed teeth, discomfort and pain. Bacteria that flourish in an unhealthy mouth can lead to hearth disease, respiratory illness and diabetes.
Most of the oral hygiene problems can be avoided with regular flossing, read on to learn more about the benefits of flossing.
- Bad breath
Bad breath can be an embarrassing problem to have, but flossing can easily improve your breath and make the problems with bad breath a thing of the past. Toothbrush can’t remove all of the food trapped in your teeth, particles of food can get lodged between your teeth and rot, giving off foul, unpleasant odors. Most of the food, when it breaks down, releases sulfurous compounds which create a smell akin to rotten eggs. By flossing every day, you make sure that all of the food particles which cause bad breath don’t stay in your mouth.
Having to sit with your mouth wide open with a dentist’s drill in your mouth isn’t the most fun thing to do. It can be painful and stressful. One of the most common reasons for being in that stressful situation are cavities. Cavities are decayed areas of teeth. Cavities create tiny holes in the enamel which can develop into deep, painful pits. Cavities occur when all of the bacteria, food particles, acids and saliva come together to create plaque. The acids eat away at your teeth and can cause toothaches, sensitivity to cold or hot, pain and visible holes. By not flossing you are helping the plaque between your teeth form into cavities which are hard to notice. The cavities might even create a hole big enough to reach the center of the tooth containing nerves, and cause extreme, sharp pain.
Be wary of those hard-to-reach places and floss daily to eliminate the possibility of cavities appearing in those places.
Gingivitis can be a horrible thing to suffer through, and it paves the road to periodontal disease, which eats away at the soft tissue and bone in your mouth and may cause tooth loss. Gingivitis appears due to a buildup of plaque along the gum line and it can cause inflammation, soft or tender gums, bad breath and it may cause your gums to bleed more easily. The more plaque you have and the longer it stays lodged between your teeth, the higher the likelihood that it will become tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist. Floss daily and you will lessen the risk of developing gingivitis.
- Other problems
Research suggests that periodontitis may be linked to high blood sugar, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity and atherosclerosis. We have mentioned earlier that flossing reduces the risk of gingivitis, thus reducing these more serious medical conditions.
It is obvious that flossing not only save