Most people know that they should brush and floss their teeth once or twice daily for good oral health. Knowing and doing are definitely not the same, though. Here are some fun facts you may not have known about flossing.
Manufacturers Made the First Floss from Silk
Today there are many floss choices. Here are some tips for choosing the one you want:
- Wide floss is better than regular for people who have bridgework or spaces between their teeth.
- Waxed floss slides between teeth that are close together most easily.
- Unwaxed floss squeaks when teeth are clean and plaque is gone.
- Bonded unwaxed floss tears more than waxed floss but much less than regular unwaxed floss.
Women Floss More than Men Do
Although more than half of Americans do not floss daily, those who do are more likely to be women. Even if you don’t have time to floss every day, occasional flossing is better than not ever flossing. (Honestly, are you really surprised? I’m not. Ladies are just cleaner.)
Waterpicks Are Not a Substitute for Floss
Waterpicks are an effective tool for removing debris that a toothbrush can’t reach, especially if you have braces. Waterpicks don’t remove plaque, though, and plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. Only floss can help remove this from teeth between regular cleanings at your dentist.
Floss was Once Used by a Prisoner to Escape Prison
That prisoner braided floss into a rope to scale the wall. In 1994, a West Virginia prison inmate braided dental floss into a rope, scaled the wall, and escaped. We’re not advocating prison escape, though, so you may want to use your floss like this instead:
- Break off a piece about as long as your forearm and wind all but about four inches around one of your middle fingers.
- Wind the tail end around a finger of your other hand.
- Stretch the floss tightly with about an inch between your fingers and guide it down between your teeth using a gentle back-and-forth motion.
- At the gumline, slide the floss gently down between the gum and tooth until there is resistance.
- With the floss against the tooth, gently scrape the side of the tooth as you move the floss away from the gum line.
Floss is Your Best Weapon in the Fight Against Plaque
Plaque and food debris stick to teeth and gums and lodge between teeth, sending an open invitation to the bacteria that cause gum disease. Floss removes plaque and debris and protects your mouth from bacteria.