Healthy Gums and Teeth With Dental Flossing

We’ve all heard it at every dental appointment – dental flossing is an important part of keeping our teeth healthy, our smiles looking good. We know that. Yet most of us don’t do it!

Hardly sensible, as flossing does about 40% of the work in removing the bacteria (also known as plaque) stuck on our teeth. Dentists will tell you that each tooth in your head has five different surfaces and if you don’t floss, you’re leaving at least two of them without being cleaned. The plaque that’s left is known to generate acid, and this causes cavities, gum irritation and can even bring on gum disease.

Gum disease beyond being bad for your teeth and really takes a toll on the looks of your smile too. It eats away at your gums and teeth, attacking the bones that support your teeth (as well as the lower third of your face). If you keep these bones healthy (by flossing), you tend to look better around the mouth as you get older.

So, now you’re convinced. Just how to do you do it?

Start by choosing a floss that you’ll actually use. Most types are made of nylon or Teflon, but those who have larger spaces between their teeth (or suffer from gum recession) get better results with wide, flat dental tape.

If your teeth are super close together, try the floss that calls itself shred resistant for best results. If you have bridges or braces, you need to get underneath, and this calls for a floss threader (looks a lot like a plastic sewing needle) or try Super Floss, a product with one stiff end to feed the floss through the teeth, followed by a spongy section and then regular floss for cleaning.

Many of us wonder at our technique… what’s the right way to floss?

Here are some tips:

– You want a piece of floss that’s from 15 to 18 inches long. Slide it between your teeth then wrap the floss around each tooth in the shape of a “C,” and use a sawing motion that rubs the floss up and down on the tooth.

– Establish a regular routine and time for flossing, for example first thing in the morning or before bedtime so you’re less likely to forget. Or, floss your top teeth in the morning, bottom in the evening if you’re short on time.

– Don’t worry about a little blood. Blood isn’t a sign to stop flossing, but rather that bacteria have taken up residence between your teeth and need to be removed. Bleeding that lingers after a few days or regular flossing could be a sign of periodontal disease, and requires the attention of your dentist.

– If you don’t have the hand dexterity to floss, try soft wooden plaque removers that look like toothpicks. A two-pronged plastic floss holder can also be a great help.

Beyond helping your smile, keeping your teeth clean and freshening your breath, flossing can also help you live longer according to researchers at Harvard Medical School. Evidence also exists that links poor gum health with heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and low birth weight babies born of non-flossing mothers.

The American Dental Association recommends both regular brushing and dental flossing for optimal oral hygiene.

Preventing Gingivitis With Dental Floss and Good Oral Hygiene

A New Orleans dentist, Levi Spear Parmly, was the first to begin using dental floss in 1815. Parmly recommended silk floss, as dental floss was not manufactured commercially until unwaxed silk floss was available in 1882 by Codman and Shurleft. The first patent for dental floss was granted to Johnson and Johnson. Nylon floss was created around the time of World War II. It was found that nylon was better than silk as a flossing material due to its ability to be more abrasive and more elastic.

Studies show that only about 10-40 percent of Americans floss on a daily basis, whereas most Americans brush their teeth daily. Dentist encourage flossing as a part of a good oral hygiene routine to prevent gingivitis. Among other things, good flossing can help prevent gingivitis. Daily brushing and flossing can prevent gum disease, heart disease, cavities and bad breath. Flossing has also been linked to greater longevity. Dental rinses and certain mouthwashes have also been proven to reduce the incidence of gingivitis. Some people prefer rinsing with hydrogen peroxide, saline or alcohol to help prevent gingivitis as well. Toothpastes that contain triclosan are recommended to help prevent gingivitis.

Researchers have found that men and women who consume only about half the recommend daily allowance of calcium are twice as likely to have gum disease. This was especially true for Americans in their 20’s and 30s. Generally, people who have poor or compromised immune systems are also more at risk for developing gingivitis, as bacteria are allowed to grow and reproduce in their mouths. People who do not take oral hygiene seriously with daily brushing and flossing are at great risk for gingivitis as well as other health problems.

Treatment of gingivitis is based on the removal of the plaque, which causes the gingivitis. Reducing oral bacteria and breaking down the plaque will help in most cases of gingivitis. Home oral hygiene is very important in treatment of gingivitis. This includes brushing and flossing after each meal. Regular trips to the dentist will also be required for adequate treatment. Using certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce the swelling in the oral cavity. Complications of gingivitis include tooth loss and even decay, as well as swollen glands, and abscessed infections of the jaw bones or gingiva.

In order to prevent gingivitis, other oral diseases, and to promote your overall health, make brushing and flossing a habit. Both brushing and flossing are recommended after each meal of the day, most importantly after the last meal. When you integrate brushing and flossing into your daily routine you decrease your chances of developing gingivitis and increase your overall health.

A Brief Introduction to Dental Flossing

Children are taught exactly what their parents learnt and the tradition is continuing almost for an eternity. This fact holds true even when one teaches the basics of oral hygiene to one’s kids. Thus, many children grow up without realising the importance of dental flossing, just as their parents did not. However, dental experts all over the world are unanimously recommend using the floss on regular basis to keep the mouth clean and healthy.


Extensive research conducted worldwide confirms that the floss, which comes as a thin, soft thread made of either nylon or plastic, is the best tool to maintain overall oral hygiene. It helps to remove the suspended food particles from the mouth in one hand, while on the other, it cleans the teeth from harmful layer of plaque deposition. However, one has to be careful while performing this dental hygiene activity. Else, it may damage the gums and cause severe inconvenience. To avoid the flip side of flossing, it is better to learn the proper technique from a well-trained dentist and follow the expert’s guidelines.

Easier and effective techniques

There are many people, who find it difficult to handle the floss. They can use a floss holder or a flosser to make the task easier. There is another option too, in form of interdental brushes. Both these items are readily available across the chemist shops and supermarkets.

People, who floss their teeth regularly, are found to suffer less from various periodontal diseases as compared to those who do not. Moreover, the activity also helps to eliminate the harmful bacteria from the mouth that contribute to formation of dental cavities. According to experienced dentists all over the world, regular flossing is an excellent way to stay safe from the problem of gingival bleeding.

A few helpful flossing tips

Here are some helpful tips for safe and hassle-free flossing.

First, cut off the floss string to about 45 cm in length and wind it along the middle fingers of both hands. Now, grip it strongly, using the thumb and the forefinger and pull it tight so that it can easily get into the gaps between the teeth. However, while performing the procedure, care should be taken to guide the piece of string as gently as possible. Careful flossing helps to prevent gum damage. Adequate care is necessary to ensure the floss reaches every single gap in between the teeth.

So, dental experts suggest working in a pattern round the entire mouth so that not a single tooth is missed in the process. It is equally crucial to floss the back of the teeth as well, to keep the mouth thoroughly free of plaques and prevent growing of harmful bacteria in it.

Initial days of flossing

During the initial days of flossing, it is natural to experience bleeding from the gums. However, this should not stop one from performing the dental hygiene activity. In case, the inconvenience continues further, one should not hesitate to visit a dependable dental practice.

Regular brushing and flossing are the basic measures that everyone should perform to keep the teeth and the gums healthier and stronger.