Probably everybody who is reading this uses toothbrushes on a regular basis, and cleans their teeth at home. Sadly, it is very rare to find a toothbrush that can get in between teeth, and we are usually satisfied with seeing our tooth surface clean. The problem is that food detritus usually gets caught between the teeth, and thats where decay usually starts too. Usually, we only find this out once it’s too late. This process is preventable, with a packet of tooth floss.
This practical little bundle was invented by Levi Spear Parmly, a dentist from New Orleans. He started selling it to patients in 1815, for at home use by his patients. The then unwaxed silk thread was only mass produced in 1898, though. The original material got used up very quickly, and this is why it was not used by many. The plastic version was made by Dr. Charles C. Bass, and this was much more popular. The product had a massive media campaign behind it, but only 12% of the total US population used the product.
It is always worth it to spend more on quality. There are several types of dental floss available, fluoridated and menthol as well. There are specialty ones made for folks in braces, thinner, thicker ones, waxed, regular, etc. Usually it is good to buy ones that are a bit thicker, as they will last longer, and waxed ones, as those are less likely to make your gums bleed.
Dental floss, just like toothbrushes, were invented for daily use. Take the time to do it everyday, it will quickly become routine. It is usually a good idea to floss at night. You have more time and patience at night, and there will be no new food detritus in your mouth to give you morning breath.
It is important to not use a single strand on all of your teeth, because that way you are just relocating plaque form one tooth to another. Get a new strand for each tooth. Be careful and gentle, but firm, when you clean, otherwise you may end up hurting your gums. Go slow, especially with smaller cracks that are close to the gum. Stand in front of a mirror while you do it. The hardest place to reach is your wisdom tooth, because there isn’t a lot of space.
Teeth do not end at the gumline, despite appearances. You need to pull dental floss a little past the point where the tooth ends, to get the best effect. Go vertically from tooth gap to tooth gap. If you do a good job, you can remove all plaque, and thus prevent tooth decay, periodontitis and the formation of tartar.
Dental floss can also serve as a tool used to check up on our own oral health. If you find that your gum is bleeding on the same tooth each time, that is indicative of that tooth having some problems, and you should go to a dentist. It is also a problem if the floss splinters or breaks at a certain place, as this is a sign of damage. When at the dentist, ask your dentist about what s/he recommends is the best way to floss for your particular dentition.
If kids start to use proper at home oral care techniques young, they will live a better life, and will have less problems with their teeth and gums as adults. There is special floss for kids which has a handle, it is good to start them off with this fun little item.
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