Guide to dental floss

May 21, 2012

If there’s one thing my patients need to do more of, it’s floss. Regular flossing removes plaque buildup between teeth a toothbrush can’t reach, preventing gum disease.

 Types of dental floss:

  • Unwaxed floss—a thin nylon floss made of about 35 strands twisted together. It fits into tight spaces if your teeth are close together, but it can be prone to shredding or breaking.
  • Waxed floss—a standard nylon floss with a light wax coating. It is less likely to break, but the wax coating may make it harder to use in tight spots.
  • Dental tape is broader and flatter than standard floss and comes in waxed or unwaxed versions. People with more space between their teeth often find dental tape more comfortable to use than standard floss.

Using a “flosser”

Flosser

Dental flossers like this make flossing easier.

If you have trouble reaching the back of your mouth or gripping traditional floss, try a flosser. A flosser is basically a piece of floss on a handle. Like toothbrushes, flossers come in a variety of shapes and colors (even battery-powered!). Look for one with a long handle for easier holding and a compact head that makes it easier to reach behind the back teeth—a particularly tricky spot to clean. Dental flossers also come in a variety of kid friendly colors and cartoon characters.

 The best type of dental floss is the one that is most comfortable for you. The easier to use, the more likely the patient will floss on a regular basis.

Source: Oral B

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