-Did you know that flossing started in America?

Flossing first started in 1815. In the city of New Orleans, Dr Levi Spear Parmly introduced flossing to his patients using waxen silk thread.

-But it did not start there!

As far back as 6,000 years ago, grooves in teeth were found on ancient human remains. These grooves indicated that they were essentially flossing. It is theorized that they used pine needles and horsehair to get the job done. In fact, horsehair was used when toothbrushes were first introduced because of its durability.

-When did it start becoming more commonly used?

In the 1950’s x-rays became a standard of treatment at most dental practices, after this started it did not take long for dentists to realize that cavities were more common in between the teeth. This meant that the lack of flossing was the source of the cavities in between teeth. Around the 1970’s, doctors started recommending that their patients floss daily to reduce the bacteria lurking in between their teeth.

– The cause of bad breath

Plaque is a sticky slimy mixture that contains bacteria and toxins excreted onto teeth. Plaque constantly forms on one’s teeth by nature. Essentially it is a mixture of bacteria and their poop, leading to dental decay and gum diseases if not cleaned off regularly. It also can contain sulfur compound, contributing to the bad odor coming from your mouth. When flossing, you dislodge the colony of bacteria and removing the bad smell. But as soon as you are done flossing, the bacteria will start to grow again. This is why daily flossing is important.

– The proper way to floss.

While floss picks are better than nothing, they are only able to reach limited areas on the tooth surface. It is recommended to use regular string floss so you can wrap the floss in a C-shape around a tooth and get all the areas a toothbrush cannot reach. When possible, it is better to brush your teeth prior to flossing, this has been shown to reduce the most bacteria in the mouth. And if you use fluoride toothpaste, the fluoride will be absorbed more effectively in between the teeth.

– And just remember that we can tell…

Plaque that isn’t cleansed away by brushing and flossing, can harden into tartar or calculus. When you do not floss teeth regularly, the stagnant bacteria on the gum tissue can lead to gum irritation and gingival bleeding. This is a sign of unhealthy gums. Hygienists are trained to take notice of these symptoms during your dental cleaning appointments.

– Long story short, start flossing daily for your oral health!

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