“What type of dental floss should I use?” is a question that dental professionals get asked regularly. The short answer is you should use whatever type of floss that you like. The reasoning for this is, if you like it and find it easy to use, you are more likely to use it regularly. Finding floss that you like may take some trial and error, but the type of floss isn’t as important as making sure you are flossing every day.
That being said, there are many types of floss on the market to choose from.
Unwaxed floss is made of many nylon strands twisted together. It is thin and fits between tight teeth, however, it is prone to shredding and breaking. Most people prefer waxed floss, which has made it increasingly hard to find the unwaxed variety at the store.
Waxed floss is also made of nylon strands, however, this type of floss is coated with a layer of wax which gives it strength, and makes it less likely to shred and break. It is thicker than unwaxed floss because of the addition of the wax coating.
PTFE floss is a synthetic floss which slides easily between the teeth. A popular brand is Oral-B Glide. An excellent choice for those with very tight teeth that struggle to use regular waxed floss.
Dental tape– Flatter and broader than traditional floss. Useful for larger spaces between teeth.
Superfloss– A thick yarn-like floss with a hard end that is inserted under orthodontic wires (braces) or a dental bridge.
Floss piks is a single-use plastic tools that hold a small piece of dental floss. Helpful for parents that are flossing their children’s teeth, children or teens, that are just learning to floss or anyone lacking the skill or motivation to use string floss.
Long handled flosser– a long handle with a single-use disposable floss head on the end. Good for reaching the back teeth, and for those lacking the ability or motivation to use string floss. (example: Listerine Ultraclean Access Flosser)
Eez-thru floss threaders– blue plastic floss threaders that resemble large sewing needles. They allow you to thread whatever kind of floss you like into the loop and insert the other end under orthodontic wires or bridges. Used in the same way as Superfloss, however, you choose the type of floss and thread it through the loop instead of it being all one unit.
Flossmates handles/floss wands– plastic “Y” shaped tools that you load by wrapping your choice of floss over the prongs. The longer handle helps with reaching the back teeth. Discard the floss after each use.
Remember to floss at least once a day to remove the food particles and bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities.
Your dental professional will give you individualized recommendations on which type of floss is best for you. They will teach you the proper flossing technique, which makes a big difference in how effective your flossing is. Some people may also benefit from using a water flosser or interdental brushes instead of or in addition to flossing.