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Posts Tagged ‘flossing’

How Is Floss Made?

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Flossing daily is an important component of regular oral hygiene and dental health upkeep. Including floss in our daily routine is now considered a mandatory habit for excellent oral health. Without flossing, we leave as much as 30-40 percent of our tooth’s surfaces uncleaned!

So, how much do you know about this handy little cleaning tool? Read on to discover how floss came about and how modern floss is produced!

The History Of Floss

Anthropologists and historians have determined that even in ancient times, interdental cleaning was sought after – by the use of pointed sticks or horse hair, for example. It’s long been a natural desire to want to remove food suck between the teeth and keep our mouth clean and tidy (1, 2).

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Most sources agree that a New Orleans dentist named Dr. Levi Spear Parmly should be credited for starting the trend of advising patients to use a thin silk thread to clean between their teeth. This happened circa 1815, and the idea became a popular one. Dr. Parmly later went on to publish a book called “A Practical Guide to the Management of Teeth”, in which he advocated for maintenance habits of brushing and flossing daily (1, 2).

In 1882, a company called Codman and Shurtleft Company from Massachusetts, produced and marketed an unwaxed silk dental floss for purchase.  In 1896, Johnson and Johnson jumped on board when they began offering their first dental floss. Johnson and Johnson took out a patent in 1898 for a type of floss made from the same materials doctors used at the time for silk stitches (1).

During the 1940’s, due to rising costs of silk during World War II, nylon became a replacement for silk as the main component of floss. This also improved upon silk’s tendency to shred (2).

Dental Floss In Recent Years

Since the initial introduction of dental floss products, the dental floss industry has expanded to use new materials such as Gore-Tex, and to offer various textures, flavors, and alternative options, such as floss picks (1, 2).

These improved features have made flossing easier for the consumer, depending on their needs. There are soft or spongy options for consumers with sensitive gums, and options with thicker ends for use around braces or dental equipment. And the development of single use fun flossers for kids can help children learn the importance of flossing at a young age, in a fun and easy-to-use way (3).

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How Is Floss Made?

Modern day floss is typically made out of one of two synthetic compounds: nylon or Teflon. Nylon is a synthetic polymer that results in a fiber-forming substance. Teflon is the trade name of a specific chemical polymer compound. Floss may also contain wax, flavors, or other ingredients, depending on the manufacturer and finishing options (3).

Floss From Nylon

The polymer used in making nylon flossed is prepared and poured out as a ribbon, then cut into small pellets or flakes. These pieces are blended, re-melted, and pumped through spinning machines to form filaments. As the nylon cools, these filaments solidify to form a yarn and are combined to create a strand of floss. Proper twisting during the process adds strength to the floss and reduces the chances of fraying or breakage. Because nylon floss is composed of many small filaments, it can be created in different weights, or thicknesses (3).

Floss Made With Teflon

Teflon floss comes from a specific polymer called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This polymer is melted into a paste and then stretched into a long, thin strand. Next, the polymer is expanded into different directions.

This stretching process gives this type of floss substantial strength. The substance is cut, forming various thicknesses and weights. PTFE is a monofilament, has excellent tensile strength, and does not shred or break easily. Twisting is not required for the Teflon floss process (3).

Finishing Touches: Coating Process

The finishing touches allow for diversity in customer preference. Manufacturers differentiate their products by adding unique and proprietary coatings. The coating process takes place in emulsion baths. This bathing process allows additives such as waxes, flavors, or any other coating options to be applied in a consistent manner (3).

Product Packaging

Flosses are packaged into bobbins for easy spooling and unspooling. They can be packaged in a cylindrical shape or a roll-type shape. Winding the floss for consumer use requires equipment that transfers the yarn onto a spool.

Cylindrical bobbins are used in tube or rectangular shaped floss packages. This type of bobbin can accommodate the highest amount of yardage. The roll bobbin is more traditional and is dispensed through flat containers. Wow…pretty cool, we must say!

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Other Fun Facts About Floss

  • Floss in ribbon form is great for kids or people with larger spacing between their teeth
  • Floss in string form is helpful for people with tightly spaced or crooked teeth
  • Floss comes in a variety of wax options: lightly waxed, waxed, or un-waxed
  • Today, Americans use more than 2.5 million miles of dental floss each year (3)
  • Your toothbrush can’t reach into the fine spaces between the teeth, which is why dental floss is so important
  • Recent innovations include additives to floss that can help with whitening efforts (4)

Let Us Help You With Your Dental Health

Dental floss helps to remove plaque and bacteria from and between teeth and below the gum line. Without flossing, this plaque can turn to tartar and lead to gingivitis, infection, or cavities. Unfortunately, according to the ADA, only about 12 percent of Americans are diligent about flossing daily (2). We can help you determine your risk for complications and offer tips on flossing at your next dental appointment! Schedule today by calling (513) 251-5500 or click the Online Scheduling button on our website.

Sources:

  1. https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/dental-floss-history
  2. http://www.speareducation.com/spear-review/2013/01/a-brief-history-of-dental-floss
  3. http://www.madehow.com/Volume-2/Dental-Floss.html
  4. http://www.intelligentdental.com/2011/07/20/what-is-dental-floss-made-of/

INFOGRAPHIC: Flossing vs. Waterpik® Water Flosser

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Effectively Remove Plaque From Your Teeth

 

You can see the PDF version of this infographic here. 

Give Hagen Dental Practice a Call Today

We value ensuring that you feel relaxed and comfortable during your visit just as much as we value the health of your pearly whites—and we’ll do everything we can to make you feel at home. Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit!

It’s Spring Cleaning Time… Don’t Forget Your Teeth!

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Spring is upon us in full force! Birds are chirping, the grass is starting to green, critters and wildlife are coming out of hiding, and plants everywhere are budding out. It’s a great time of year to start fresh: clean out your closets, open the windows, dust that shelf you’ve ignored all winter, sweep out the garage, fill trash bags with things you don’t want, and make trips to donation centers.

Spring naturally instills in us a desire for a fresh start. It’s a new season, the days are getting longer, the entire world seems to be waking up and emerging from the cold winter, and we look forward to the energy and excitement of the upcoming seasons. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could channel some of this energy into renewed zest for self-care?

Over the winter, there is a lot to distract us from proper oral health: the various holidays, travel to new places, family get-togethers, sweets and treats that accompany the celebrations and parties, school work, sporting events, and the goals of our New Year’s resolutions. The renewal mindset that comes along with the spring season offers us the perfect opportunity to check in on our oral health. We have a chance to start anew with our positive self-care habits to prevent dental issues in our future.

Check In With Your Daily Habits

Are you brushing regularly? You should brush at least twice per day, approximately two minutes each time. Use a soft bristled brush in a gentle up and down motion. Avoid cross friction or overly hard brushing.

Do you floss? Up to one third of your tooth’s enamel can’t be properly cleaned with brushing alone. Floss helps to clean debris and tartar buildup from between your teeth and closer to the gum line. Take this habit as seriously as brushing!

Check In With Your Food And Beverage Intake

Do you eat sugary or acidic foods? These types of foods create a breeding ground in your mouth for bacterial growth, decay, and plaque buildup. Make a commitment this year to renew your diet and load up on proteins, vegetables and fibrous foods. Minimize your sugar and snack consumption, and avoid acidic beverages like soda.

How is your hydration? Water is essential for many body functions, including proper oral health. Water intake helps keep saliva levels normal, minimize bad breath away, reduce tartar, and clean debris from your mouth.

Check In With Your Tools

Is your toothbrush more than three months old? It’s time to break open a new toothbrush! Spring is a great reminder to “start fresh”. Are you running low on floss or mouthwash? Stock up the next time you head to the store. Good habits are best supported by proper supplies.

Is it time to try something new? Perhaps you’ve been considering switching to an electronic toothbrush or a water flosser? These tools can add value and convenience to the way you clean your teeth at home. Confused or don’t know where to start? Ask us! We are here to help.

Check In With The Hagen Team

Take the opportunity this spring to “deep clean” your personal habits and health choices to benefit you in the years to come. We look forward to seeing your progress in our office at your next checkup and cleaning!

Do you need to get your next appointment on the books? Give us a call at Hagen Dental Practice at (513) 251-5500 and we will find a time that works best for you!

The Dreaded Act of Flossing

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Flossing. Hey, we’ve all been there. When we were kids it was bad enough that Mom and Dad made us brush our teeth, let alone floss. Sticking our fingers in our mouths, taking longer in the bathroom – from a kids’ perspective, what’s the point?

It prevents bad breath and gum disease. We can’t always see plaque, bacteria, or food particles between our teeth, and if we’re not in the habit of flossing, we can hardly feel that our teeth are still dirty – even after a good brush.

Our toothbrush bristles cannot reach hidden plaque and other decay-causing bacteria. Floss does. In fact, it cleans 33% of your total tooth surface.

Now we’re not kids anymore and we get the point. But, yet, not everyone flosses. Why is this?

Our patients find that flossing is very easy to forget about, especially if they are not used to doing it every night. Hagen understands that if you don’t floss already, it’s hard to make it a habit. So we’ve provided a few pointers that may help you start:

  • Step one is getting the floss into your home
  • Keep your floss next to your toothbrush – not hidden in a drawer
  • Try to floss at LEAST once a day
  • Floss before you brush. (Rinse with a mouthwash after)
  • Use up to 18 inches of floss each time
  • Don’t cheat by skipping one or two days – make it a habit and it will automatically become part of your routine!

Check out these other flossing tips by the ADHA.

If you have any questions or comments, ask on our Facebook or Twitter, or give us a call at 513.251.5500! We’re always happy to help.