Flossing is Important for Your Oral Health
From the moment your teeth first started popping up in your mouth, you have probably been told time and time again about the importance of flossing. While you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, it is also advised you floss your teeth daily. How many times have you gone into your dentist’s office for a cleaning and been asked when the last time you flossed was? When they remind you to floss daily to keep your teeth clean and mouth healthy, do you take their advice? While it can be time-consuming, flossing is incredibly important. That is why the National Flossing Council (NFC) established National Flossing Day back in 2000.
The NFC established National Flossing Day on the Friday after Thanksgiving every year. They created this day to educate people across the country about the importance of flossing, spreading information that will hopefully encourage more people to make this a habit. This day acts as an important reminder of flossing.
The fact that it occurs the day after Thanksgiving makes it even harder to miss. Thanksgiving is a day of eating large amounts of food. Chances are you will end up with food stuck between your teeth at least once over that weekend, so it makes perfect sense to make National Flossing Day the day right after.
The History of Dental Floss
According to most sources, a dentist in New Orleans in 1815 has been credited with the invention of dental floss. He often advised his patients to take thin strands of silk to clean between their teeth. However, it wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that flossing became a trend.
In 1882, a company based out of Randolph, Massachusetts, called the Codman and Shurtleft Company started marketing an unwaxed silk floss. Shortly after, in 1896, Johnson & Johnson created the first dental floss, acquiring a patent in 1898 for dental floss made from the same silk material doctors used for stitches.
Eventually, in the 1940s, dental experts started using nylon instead of silk for floss because they were resistant to shredding, unlike silk. Waxed floss also became a product of nylon use, which, in turn, lead to the development of dental tape in the 1950s.
Since then, floss has continued to improve and help people around the world keep their teeth and mouth clean and healthy.
The Importance of Flossing
You have more than likely been told over and over to floss your teeth at least once a day. Roughly only 30% of Americans floss their teeth daily. Furthermore, a little over 32% admitted to never flossing. These numbers show just how important a day like National Flossing Day truly is. More people need to be aware of how important flossing is for your oral health.
Prevents Gum Disease
One of the major reasons you should floss regularly is that it removes plaque buildup from your teeth. When plaque begins to collect on your teeth, it will eventually turn into tartar. Tartar cannot be removed with a toothbrush or floss, forcing you to go to a dentist to have it removed. It is also one of the leading causes of gum disease. Even though you may brush daily, it may not prevent the development of tooth decay.
By flossing at least once a day, you can drastically decrease your risk of gingivitis, the most common form of gum disease. Flossing removes plaque and dangerous bacteria that lead to gum disease and periodontal disease.
Prevents Tooth Decay
We all want our teeth to stay around for as long as possible. One of the easiest ways to ensure they remain where they are supposed to be is by flossing. As we mentioned, plaque builds up on your teeth and wears away at the enamel on your teeth. When enamel begins to wear away, your teeth are at a greater risk of breaking down. Enamel is there to protect your teeth, but when it is damaged, there isn’t anything to stop plaque from damaging your teeth. However, if you floss, you can prevent this buildup and tooth decay.
Prevents Bad Breath
Making a good first impression is incredibly important, regardless of who you are. You never want your breath to be the reason someone thinks poorly of you. Chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, is often the unwelcome byproduct of not flossing. Food particles and other debris left between your teeth and gums often sit untouched, eventually decaying and producing a foul odor. By flossing daily, you remove any remaining food from your teeth, preventing bad breath.
How to Observe National Flossing Day
It is very easy to celebrate National Flossing Day. All you need to do is floss! This day is meant to raise awareness about your oral health, specifically how flossing can help improve it and your smile. There are several ways you can observe this day, including:
- Taking the time to show your children how to properly floss
- Schedule dental cleanings for the whole family
- Spread knowledge about the importance of floss and what happens when you don’t floss
- Using Thanksgiving as a chance to teach your family about the importance of flossing
- Bringing floss or flossing alternatives to Thanksgiving dinner
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to spread more information about flossing and National Flossing Day. Take the opportunity to show your family how to properly floss after everyone has finished eating.
A large number of people across the country fail to regularly floss their teeth. A lack of information may be the cause of this issue, but it can be corrected. The National Flossing Council established National Flossing Day to help erase this problem and encourage more people to floss. If you need to schedule a dental cleaning or wish to learn more about flossing, contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas.