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.