You know you should floss at least once a day to keep your smile healthy. But how much do you really know about this simple, effective tool? Take this quiz to test your flossing knowledge and know-how.
How much floss is produced each year?
3 million feet (914,400 meters)
3 million yards (2,743,200 meters)
3 million miles (4,828,032 kilometers)
Textile and health care product companies that produce dental floss spin out and sell an estimated 3 million miles (4,828,032 kilometers) of floss each year. That's nearly enough to stretch from the Earth to the moon and back six times.
Floss is often made from nylon or other synthetic fibers. Many manufacturers wax these fibers, or coat them with Teflon or other nonstick coatings so the floss will slide between teeth and gums with less effort.
What was the first commercially produced floss made from?
The first commercially produced floss was made from silk. Manufacturers continued to use silk for floss until the 1940s, when nylon and other synthetic fibers came into common use due to technological advances and the rationing of silk during World War II.
Good brushing technique can do what flossing does.
Dental picks and intradental brushes can provide some of flossing's benefits.
For people who find flossing uncomfortable or difficult to properly perform, dental picks and intradental cleaning brushes can provide some of flossing's benefits. These tools are often less effective and more expensive, though.
Mouthwash can clean between teeth and gums just like floss.
No: The cost of dental checkups is equal to what you'd spend on emergency dental care.
Flossing and brushing every day can eliminate the need for dental checkups.
Yes: Between reduced dental care costs and the prevention of systemic disease, dental care can save you significant amounts of money.
According to some estimates, regular preventive dental care (checkups and cleanings) can reduce overall dental care costs by as much as a factor of 10. And since oral health is linked to systemic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, dental care is an investment that can pay for itself many times over.
What does it mean when a box of floss is labeled "ADA-approved"?
The ADA has tested the floss and confirmed that it meets its effectiveness and safety standards.
The American Dental Association conducts independent, scientifically rigorous tests to evaluate dental care products. Its seal of approval on a package of floss means that the ADA tested a sample of the floss and found that it did a satisfactory job of cleaning the teeth, and that it should be safe for typical consumers to use.
The ADA produced the floss.
The ADA is a trade organization made up of product manufacturers; it does not test products.
inflammation and pustules forming around the teeth
inflammation, bleeding and pain in the gums
inflammation and bleeding of the gums
While gingivitis commonly appears as inflammation and bleeding in the gums, it isn't always painful. If you notice redness or bleeding when you brush and floss, but it doesn't hurt, you should still contact your dentist.
There is no connection between diabetes and oral health.
People with poor oral health have a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Studies have shown that people with poor oral health are at a statistically higher risk of developing Type II diabetes. Research is still underway to determine how illness in the mouth can affect the endocrine system.
People with poor oral health have a lower-than-average risk of developing diabetes.
Several studies have suggested a link between oral disease and heart disease.
While the possible mechanisms (such as poor diet and overall health) that could tie heart disease to oral health are somewhat unclear, researchers have repeatedly found an apparent link between poor oral health and the possibility of heart disease.
There is no connection between oral disease and heart disease.
Oral disease is linked to nervous system disorders, not heart disease.