Dental floss is a waxed or unwaxed thread made of either nylon filaments or plastic ribbon, and which is primarily used to remove any remaining food or dental plaque that may remain on the surface of the tooth or in the gaps between the teeth. It is used by gently inserting between the teeth and is passed/scraped between the teeth close to the gums.
The dental floss can be waxed or unwaxed, and flavored or non-flavored.
How was dental floss introduced?
What to take care about dental floss?
Does floss clean all the tooth surfaces?
How is dental floss available?
How to use a dental floss?
How is a dental floss useful?
A dentist from New Orleans, named Levi Spear Parmly is the person who for the first time use a traditional form of thread as a dental floss. It was a thread of silk which was used first as a floss. This was late back in 1815. Then there were a few companies after decades which came with some floss materials into the market, some of the companies include Codman and Shurtleft, Johnson & Johnson Corporation, Red Cross, Salter Sill Co. and Brunswick.
The usage of floss is still seen more in the western countries, and in America, 50% of people have the habit of flossing taking it as a measure of maintaining oral hygiene.
It is advised that the dental floss should be used in a gentle manner as it can hurt the external of the tooth, and sometimes the gums. Generally you can floss once a day after brushing. The American Dental Association suggests that flossing should be done by curving the floss against the surface of side of the tooth, moving along the shape of “C”, then do the same vertically from the tip of gums to the tip of the tooth but this has to be done very gently as the gum can be damaged if done vigorously. Flossing should be done for a very less time.
Dental floss cleans all the tooth parts except the areas below the contact point in the proximal surfaces as it can not reach there if the contact points are tight and do not allow the floss to go further down.
It depends on the manufacturer, but generally a floss is available in the form of long threads of 10 to 50 meters length, and are rolled and placed in plastic containers and transported. The pack also has an attached blade to cut the floss whenever the needed and required amount of floss is pulled out. There are several manufacturers like one of those well noted ones is the toothpaste manufacturer Colgate.
Required amount of floss is cut from the box and then it is wrapped around the middle fingers of both the hands so that a good hold can be put on it, and directly pressing with the fingers can reduce the friction and the floss can slip from between the fingers. The fingers can be rested over the other teeth when working on a particular tooth and its surfaces. And the thumb should be used as a press for the floss on the middle finger.
Alternatively, you can just tie the two ends by knots and make a round loop of the thread which can be used in wet conditions, and does not apply much pressure too. Then as given above, the floss should be run against the surface and along the proximal margins of the teeth to clean off the bacteria and the food particles.
There are materials which can hold the dental floss to use it in a proper way, they are –
These wands and picks are materials which have 2 prongs in an end from the handle which are in the shape of F and Y, and between the prongs, there is a floss attached. They help in holding the floss easily but are not efficient as the manual hand flossing is. Sometimes, the part underneath the gums where the plaque forms frequently, is not cleaned well when these wands and picks are used.
Watch this video as a tutorial for flossing your tooth in c-shaped manner –
Dental floss is helpful in removal of food particles and the bacteria and oral flora which are responsible for some common oral conditions like Gum disease, dental caries from dental plaque, and halitosis or bad breath due to food accumulation. And it also helps in prevention from Gingivitis and Periodontal disease.