What Type of Floss Should You Use?
Flosses come from multiple brands, and they come in various configurations. Some have the traditional thread-like form, while others look like a thumb-sized slingshot.
Because you have so many options to choose from, you might wonder which flossing product works best for your needs. Do some brands or configurations work better than others?
Below, you'll find an outline of some available flossing products and their advantages and disadvantages. If you still do not know which product to use after reading this description, talk to your dentist. He or she can advise you based on your mouth's unique needs.
1. Stringed Floss
Traditional dental floss comes in a long stretch of string coiled up in a small box. When you need to floss your teeth, you simply grab one end of the length of string and draw out 12 to 18 inches of it, using the sharp edge provided in the box to cut off that portion of string. Then you wrap the ends of the floss several times around each of your index fingers to make the length more manageable.
This flossing method has a few advantages if you do it correctly. First, each gap between your teeth receives cleaning from unused portion of the string as you move your fingers. The bacteria and food debris from the last gap will not move to new gaps because you reuse the same bit of string again. You can also floss your teeth more gently because you have your hands in the immediate area for more control.
Additionally, when you want to floss around your gums, this floss gives you one of the easier and more effective options. However, in some cases, your mouth might not open wide enough to get your floss to the back of your mouth.
2. Dental Tape Floss
Dental tape floss functions the same way as regular stringed floss. However, it has a flat, broad construction rather than a thread-like one. The broad, flat surface allows for more scraping power between the teeth. The broadness also makes this floss easier to use with teeth that have larger gaps between them. Otherwise, dental tape has the same advantages and disadvantages as normal floss.
3. Floss Picks or Floss Holders
Floss picks represent one of the most popular modern floss trends. They sometimes come in a Y-shaped or slingshot-shaped plastic apparatus that has floss string suspended between the prongs. You can also find floss picks that come in a more knife-shaped configuration.
Floss picks give you a superior reach. You will not struggle to clean the gaps between your back teeth. You can also clean between your front teeth more quickly. However keep in mind that floss picks cannot wrap around your gum line like regular floss, so they might not clean that part of your teeth as effectively.
4. Oral Irrigators
Irrigators use a jet of water to force bacteria and debris out from between your teeth. These devices have many of the same advantages as floss picks, but they can also clean your gum line effectively. If you purchase one, remember to lean over the sink, close your lips, and hold the tip at a 90-degree angle to your teeth.
The disadvantage in this case simply comes down to cost. Oral irrigators will cost more than regular dental floss, dental tape, or floss picks.
5. Electric Flossers
Just as you can buy an electric toothbrush, you can buy an electric flosser. These devices look similar to a floss pick in that they often have a Y-shaped configuration with string between two prongs, but you have to clean the string between uses and eventually replace the flosser's head. These flossers have the same disadvantage as floss picks as well. However, they will give you a thorough clean.
Again, if you still do not know which flossing product suits your needs best, talk to your dentist. Additionally, if you have further questions about flossing techniques or other dental hygiene concerns, browse the rest of our blog posts.