To supplement your daily tooth brushing routine, dentists recommend flossing. Dental floss removes plaque and food particles that your brush misses between the teeth and gums. Plaque buildup can cause cavities and gingivitis, so this is very important. But which type of dental floss is best? There are several different types, and anyone new to buying dental floss might feel overwhelmed. But have no fear! Even the American Dental Association states that “it’s not what type of floss you use, but how and where you use it.” Here’s a dental floss guide of the different varieties.
This is the traditional string dental floss, made from a nylon waxed monofilament. This type of dental floss doesn’t fray, though it does require a certain amount of dexterity to use. Problems may include a cut or cleft in the gums if used incorrectly, or loss of circulation in fingers if wound too tight.
Another traditional variety of dental floss is multifilament unwaxed floss, made from individual strands. One disadvantage of this type of floss, compared to waxed floss, is the danger of snaring or shredding. This might be a bigger problem if you have braces or another kind of dental apparatus in your mouth.
This is waxed floss with a flatter, wider design than ordinary dental floss, so it can clean a wider surface area of the tooth. Issues are the same as with floss, such as a danger of cuts or injury to your finger if not done carefully, and it requires some manual dexterity to use properly.
Tufted or Braided Dental Floss
This floss variety is sometimes called “superfloss.” It’s a regular diameter floss with a wider tufted part that resembles yarn. At its tip is a floss threader. Although it’s designed for reaching areas around bridges and braces, the fibers might catch on dental work or appliances, possibly causing irritation to the gums. Using the threader requires precision, since forcing it into gum tissues could cause trauma.
A floss holder comprises of a handle with two prongs designed in an F or Y shape. Standard dental floss is wrapped around a small wheel and between the two prongs. Floss holders are reusable — you just change the floss between uses. Easy to setup and use, a floss holder eliminates the problems of traditional floss, and it can get to hard-to-reach teeth. You might have a little less control than with the floss wrapped around your fingers for maintaining the floss tension and pressure around the teeth. You might also have to steady your hand with a finger on your chin or cheek to avoid floss cuts or gum trauma. There are disposable floss holders with lengths of floss already attached for once-only use.
This type of floss uses a nylon loop that looks like a needle for threading floss. The tip of the threader is then inserted into and pulled through the spaces between your teeth for cleaning. This type of flosser may also cause gum trauma if not inserted carefully.