Presently, a majority of dental disease occurs on interproximal surface areas of teeth (i.e. the surface areas between teeth). A program of good dental hygiene which includes keeping the interproximal surface areas clean helps prevent dental disease from occurring in these areas.
Flossing is a well known and commonly used method of good dental hygiene by which interproximal surfaces of teeth are cleaned. Proper flossing cleans the interproximal surfaces both above and below the gum line thereby reducing the likelihood of dental disease on these surfaces. Although flossing is a valuable part of good dental hygiene, it is a tedious and time consuming task and, therefore, is seldom done properly.
There are various methods of cleaning teeth. Toothbrushes are used to clean teeth. However, toothbrushes cannot adequately clean interproximal surface areas because of the lack of access to these areas. Toothpicks are also used to clean teeth and also suffer from an inability to reach all interproximal surfaces adequately. Hydraulic dental irrigation systems may be used to clean these areas. However, it is well accepted that hydraulic irrigation alone is inadequate to remove the sticky plaque film which build up on teeth surfaces including interproximal surfaces.
If done properly, dental flossing is a highly effective method of improving dental hygiene with autoclave sterilizer and health of both teeth and periodontium which is between natural teeth and/or dental restorations in the mouth. Flossing action actually mechanically cleans bacteria laden plaque from tooth surfaces, particularly from interproximal tooth surfaces. Essentially, the floss wipes or scrubs off plaque and other undesirable debris from tooth surfaces. Although flossing is commonly known to be as important and as necessary as tooth brushing, it is widely neglected. Some of the most common complaints about flossing include that it is difficult to perform and is time consuming.
A variety of supplies have been introduced which attempt to make flossing easier. Most of these devices simply act as holders for the floss to reduce the manual dexterity required to floss. While such floss-holder devices like dental instruments may simplify some aspects of flossing, they generally have a fixed or limited range of motion and, therefore, have limited cleaning action and effectiveness. In addition, floss-holder devices are used manually, the cleaning energy conveyed to plaque covered tooth surfaces must be supplied by the user.