Flossing may have caught on in the 1980s but the idea has been in existence since ancient times. Floss and toothpick grooves have been discovered in the teeth of prehistoric humans. Even so, it wasn’t until 1815 that the first form of dental floss was invented. The credit is given to Levi Spear Parmly who suggested his patients use thin silk thread to clean between their teeth. It wasn’t until 1882, however, that the first commercial dental floss was developed and mass produced by the Codman and Shurtleft Company located in Massachusetts. Today, your Forth Worth orthodontist, Dr. Cabal, discusses the importance of flossing.
Flossing is an easy and convenient way to remove food from between your teeth. That is not the most important reason to floss, however. Your dentists insist you floss because flossing helps prevent periodontal disease, which is the major cause of adult tooth loss. Periodontal disease begins as gingivitis. Gingivitis develops when the bacterial plaque biofilm that forms on your teeth is left untreated. If plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing daily, it continues to buildup and eventually hardens into tartar. Tartar is a cement-like material that can only be removed via a professional dental cleaning using the proper tools. Plaque and tartar buildup cause irritation, inflammation, and bleeding of the gums. A 26-year Norway study found that participants whose teeth were surrounded by inflamed gums were 46 times more likely to lose their teeth than those whose teeth were surrounded by healthy gums. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress under the gingival tissue causing receding gums and leaving the root of the tooth vulnerable to decay, leading to periodontitis and tooth loss.
A study conducted by the British Dental Association shows that 7 million Britons do not brush their teeth daily (and some go days without brushing), while 21 percent do not floss regularly. In fact, only about 5 percent of the British population flosses regularly. When it comes to flossing, Americans fare much better (49 percent floss daily), but still10 percent of Americans don’t floss at all.
While brushing twice a day is fine for cleaning the flat surfaces of your teeth, your toothbrush can not effectively clean between your teeth, that’s why flossing is important. The plaque and tartar that builds up on flat surfaces also builds up between your teeth and under your gums and dental floss is the only effective way to remove it. Once plaque is removed, it immediately begins to form again and can begin decaying teeth in under 24 hours. Flossing and brushing regularly is of the utmost importance to help ward off gingivitis and periodontal disease.
About Dr. Cabal
Dr. Ciro Cabal is a dedicated family orthodontist whose lifelong passion for providing exceptional dental care continues to this day as he serves patients of all ages from Ft. Worth, Azle, Saginaw, Springtown, Weatherford, Haslet, and the surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment to discuss invisible braces at our Ft. Worth orthodontist office, call Lake Country Orthodontics today at (817) 236-7846.