Introduction

Dental floss is a thin strand of material, made from either nylon or Teflon that should be used daily to clean in between the teeth. Dental floss is something that is not as commonly used as it should be to maintain a healthy mouth; yet the teeth cleaning method was invented as far back as 1815. A dentist from New Orleans, Levi Spear Parmly, is credited with the invention after recommending that people clean their teeth with silk floss now almost two hundred years ago.

Just use a toothbrush?

Most people use a toothbrush twice a day to clean their teeth but very few actually spend time flossing; probably because it is such a fiddly and time consuming process. However, you may be surprised to find out that brushing is only 60% effective in removing plaque, bacteria and food particles from your mouth. The only way to achieve 100% clean is through carefully and properly flossing once or twice a day, before or after you brush your teeth.

A toothbrush only really reaches the visible or touchable surfaces of your teeth; if your tongue can't reach it then neither can your toothbrush, but unfortunately little bits of food or bacteria do not have a problem getting in there and leaving them to fester will cause problems. By carefully cleaning the space between each pair of teeth, the bacteria and food particles that have become lodged in the crannies during the day are removed, avoiding the build up of plaque and tartar that over time will lead to significant dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Add flossing to your oral hygiene routine

Here we will provide you with everything you need to know about dental floss and in doing so we will hopefully encourage those of you who do not floss to take the idea more seriously. It is a meticulous and hardly enthralling activity and it is understandable why so many people give it a miss, but by not taking the care to clean your teeth properly you are only asking for dental problem upon problem and the result will most definitely be painful and may leave you with a less than attractive smile as well. It will be at that point that you'll wish you had listened.

We will look specifically at the importance of flossing " the effect it has on plaque build-up and the health and aesthetic benefits; the correct technique for flossing " incorrect flossing is about as effective as not bothering at all; the range of dental floss available " it comes in different styles, thicknesses and flavours. The choice is endless, believe it or not. We will also look at how flossing can be easily incorporated into your current oral hygiene routine as well as flossing aids and alternative methods that are available for the same purpose; ending with a general FAQ just in case you didn't already know everything there was to know about the seemingly straightforward accessory that is dental floss.