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According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) Flossing is your #1 plaque-fighting weapon in the quest for optimal oral health. This all began with a dentist in New Orleans who advised his patients to use a thin silk thread to clean between their teeth. As this caught on, the Codman and Shurtleft Company in Massachusetts began marketing unwaxed silk dental floss in 1882. Then, a New Jersey-based company known as Johnson & Johnson took out a patent for dental floss in 1898 made from the silk material used by doctors for silk stitches.

So why don’t people floss? “I don’t get food stuck in between my teeth” is just one of the excuses dentists hear during cleaning visits. Even if that were true, flossing gets rid of the bacteria which causes plaque between teeth, something your toothbrush just can’t do this. So flossing removes bacteria and plaque, not just food. All floss removes bacteria and food particles from your teeth. This means that you can choose one based on personal preference. When you floss doesn’t matter, for example, before or after brushing your teeth, before bed, when you wake up, or in the middle of the day right after lunch, what matters is that you do take the time to floss. In fact, not flossing leads to bleeding gums.

Types of floss:

Unwaxed floss—squeaks when rubbed against teeth so you know the plaque (sticky film) has been successfully rubbed off.

Waxed floss—it is sturdier, slides easily between teeth that are tightly spaced, and is popular with people who wear braces. Comes in flavors and unflavored.

Wide floss—dental tape, is good for people who have bridgework, or for people who have wider spaces between teeth.

Flossing sticks— these are for people who can’t work floss between their fingers, children, people with arthritis or other disability. They can be used with one hand. In addition to flossing sticks, there are small round brushes, pointed rubber tips and interdental cleaners which are wooden or plastic picks to floss with.

So no more excuses! If you brush your teeth but skip the flossing part, it is like washing 70% of your body. With all the options available, you can find something that will work for you. For more information, see your dentist or give our team at Midlothian Dental Arts a call at 804-419-5155 today.