Facebook Pixel

Brush Up on Your Flossing for Better Health

By HERWriter
Rate This
Brush Up on Your Flossing to Have Better Health PS Productions/PhotoSpin

One of my favorite scenes from the movie "Grease" is when Jan sings along with Bucky Beaver in the toothpaste commercial at the Pink Ladies' slumber party. “Brusha ... Brusha ... Brusha. Get the New Ipana — it's dandy for your teeth!”

Ipana was the name of a popular toothpaste product manufactured by the Bristol-Myers Company. I would have to say, brilliant product placement by the company because I always made sure whether at home or at a slumber party that I always brushed my teeth.

As I got older, I understood even more the importance of not only brushing but flossing as well.

Michelle McDonnell, registered dental hygienist agrees. “Flossing breaks up the bacteria, or plaque, from below the gum line where the toothbrush can't reach. Flossing removes food from in between your teeth. Flossing helps prevent cavities and gum disease.” McDonnell recommends to her patients that they floss twice a day.

There are many reasons to floss. McDonnell explained how flossing can prevent gum disease. “Flossing breaks up the bacteria growing on the roots of your teeth. This bacteria causes infection and inflammation.”

She said that gum disease is usually painless until it's too late. Some things McDonnell says to look for are gums that are swollen, bleeding and/or sensitive. Other symptoms could include bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.

Speaking of bad breath, McDonnell said that flossing also helps prevent halitosis while it also keeps calculus and stain from building up on your teeth.

Another severe complication of not flossing is gingivitis, McDonnell said. “Gingivitis can progress into periodontitis which effects the bone that supports your teeth. Overtime the bone pulls away from the teeth causing the teeth to become loose.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis — a severe form of gum disease — might play a role in some diseases.”

According to Perio.org, periodontal disease could be linked to heart disease. “Scientists believe that inflammation caused by periodontal disease may be responsible for the association.”

They also said that there is an association for those with diabetes. “Diabetic patients are more likely to develop periodontal disease, which in turn can increase blood sugar and diabetic complications.”

McDonnell emphasized the importance of patience with flossing, and details a proper flossing technique.

“You should get about an 18 inch piece of floss and wrap it around the tooth in a C-shape. Gently move the floss up and down, moving it below the gum line but keeping it against the root of the tooth. Once you have flossed one side move the floss up and over the triangle of gum tissue and floss the next tooth. Make sure to floss the back side of your last molars.”

She encourages you not to give up if you having bleeding or sore gums for a week or a bit longer, saying it is merely a sign of inflammation and even more reason to keep on flossing!

Ever wonder why Ipana used Bucky Beaver?

I may be partial to Bucky because our mascot was a beaver at Archbishop Prendergast High School for girls. That's where my friends and I paid tribute to flossing in our theatrical parody as “Diana Floss and the Latrines.”

Perhaps the beaver inspired me, as it was also my grade school mascot at St. Bernadette’s, where my friend Cha Cha DiGregorio was the best dancer.

Still, wouldn’t it have made sense to have an Ipana Panda? Maybe there is a new role in flossing product promotion for the endangered panda bear, who exists mainly on bamboo. Bamboo floss?? Just a thought, something to chew on!


Interview with Michelle McDonnell, RDH – February 26, 2015.

“Ipana – Wikipedia.org.” Wikipedia. Web 26 Feb. 2015.

“Ipana Commercial – YouTube.com.” YouTube. Web 26 Feb. 2015.

“What Conditions May be Linked to Oral Health? – Mayo Clinic.com. The Mayo Clinic. Web 26 Feb. 2015.

“Gum Disease and Hearth Disease – Perio.org.” American Academy of Periodontology. Web 26 Feb. 2015.

“Gum Disease and Diabetes -Perio.org.” American Academy of Periodontology. Web 26 Feb. 2015.

Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist and Publicist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training.

Joanne's fitness plans, recipes and lifestyle advice are available globally on her website http://www.happiwoman.com/ She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband andchildren, where she runs her fitness and publicity business, JSK PR, http://www.jskpr.com/

Reviewed March 2, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Dental & Oral Health

Get Email Updates

Dental & Oral Health Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!