Cavemen Flossed Their Teeth (Sort Of) And Other Fun Facts About Flossing

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It’s officially the holiday season, and you probably already have plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But what about National Flossing Day?

That’s right. National Flossing Day is celebrated every year the day after Thanksgiving. So while you’re out scouting Black Friday deals, take a moment to remember the importance of flossing at least once a day: it helps remove bacterial buildup that leads to gum disease and tooth decay.

In honor of National Flossing Day, here are some fun facts about this cornerstone of good oral hygiene. Then, to ensure your gum health is the best it can be, call Dream-Dentistry & Sleep Care in Quakertown, PA at (215) 804-4777.

We offer routine cleanings, non-surgical gum disease treatment, and the Chao Pinhole™ Surgical Technique, a minimally invasive way to repair gum recession!


1. One In 10 Americans Would Rather Do Their Taxes Than Floss


It’s sad but true. In a 2015 survey by the American Academy of Periodontics, 10 percent of respondents said they would rather do their taxes than floss their teeth. The figures were similar for the percentage of adults who said they’d rather sit in gridlock traffic than properly clean between their teeth.

But consider this: nearly half of American adults are living with gum disease. In its early stages, gum disease can be eradicated with proper cleaning, but if it progresses into periodontitis, it can only be managed.

If you need a little extra motivation when it comes to flossing, try switching up your flavor of floss. You could even try swapping out your standard dental floss for a battery-operated water flosser.

You can also enlist the help of your smartphone by downloading an app that allows you to set reminders, time your brushing and flossing sessions, and track your progress.


2.  Cavemen Flossed … Sort Of.


Some sources say that even prehistoric humans were cleaning between their teeth. But instead of dental floss, some researchers believe they used horse hair or small sticks. (Don’t try this. Floss is much safer.)

Dental floss as we know it has its origins in 19th Century New Orleans, where a dentist named Levi Spear Parmly urged his patients to use silk thread to clean the spaces where brushing couldn’t reach. Unfortunately, he had trouble getting the idea to catch on, the New York Times has reported.


3. Jailbreaks Involving Dental Floss Are Surprisingly Not That Uncommon


In 1994, a criminal behind bars in South Carolina escaped by using dental floss. He braided “48 strands of mint-flavored, waxed dental floss to the thickness of a telephone cord,” tied it to a AA battery and hurled it through a chain-linked fence, according to the Associated Press. There have also been other similar jailbreaks, apparently.

Plus, in a 2009 episode of “Mythbusters,” the show’s stars ruled it entirely plausible that you can use dental floss to cut through the steel bars of a prison cell — if you’re willing to floss eight hours a night for roughly 300 days.

This might be a good place to note that we don’t condone the use of dental floss for illegal activities. Instead, why not just put the strength of dental floss to good use as it’s intended?

Instead of “flossing” your way to a jailbreak for hours a night, just take a couple minutes each day to thoroughly clean the spaces between your teeth.


4. Flossing Can Help Prevent Heart Attacks.


Gum disease starts as just irritation to your gums, but if the infection is not properly addressed, it can spread to your teeth, your jaw, and — some researchers say — into your bloodstream.

According to Harvard Health, gum disease is closely linked to heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health problems. And since flossing is one of the best ways to remove the bacterial buildup that causes gum disease, it can also prevent a whole host of health complications.


5. If You’re Flossing Correctly, You Should Be Using 546 Feet Of Floss Per Year.


That’s almost as tall as the Washington Monument!

The American Dental Association recommends using about 18 inches of floss at least once a day to maintain healthy gums. They also suggest the following steps for a thorough cleaning:

  • Wind most of the dental floss around one of your middle fingers and the remaining floss around the middle finger of your opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
  • Hold the floss between your thumbs and forefingers.
  • Guide the floss gently between your teeth, taking care not to “snap” the floss into your gums.
  • Once the floss reaches the gumline, move it in a “C” shape against one tooth, and then guide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
  • Tightly holding the floss against the tooth, rub the side of the tooth with up and down motions, moving the floss away from the tooth. Repeat.

Now that you’re well-versed in the importance of flossing (as well as some other fun facts), be sure to put that knowledge to good use!

Share this information with your friends and family, and be sure to call Dream-Dentistry & Sleep Care to make sure your gum health is on track. Give us a call at (215) 804-4777 today to schedule an appointment.

And of course, Happy National Flossing Day from all of us at Dream-Dentistry & Sleep Care!