Flossing is a crucial aspect of dental health and including it as a regular part of your dental hygiene routine has been proven to be highly beneficial. Flossing regularly helps prevent plaque build-up, cavities, gingivitis, and in some cases, even helps prevent oral cancer potential. It also stimulates your gums, increasing blood flow, and polishes your teeth, which makes both teeth and gums healthier and less prone to issues.
So you already know that flossing and staying on top of your dental hygiene is important. But when it comes to knowing which type of dental floss is best for you needs is important as well. There are a variety of floss types, from the flavored kind, floss made from synthetic materials, and motorized water picks. Let’s take a look at the different types of dental floss and what situation each is best for.
Different Floss Types
Waxed Dental Floss
Waxed dental floss tends to be the most standard and widely available type of floss. It is generally made from 35 strands of synthetic fibers woven together and coated in wax. This type of floss can be either flavored or unflavored and is more resistant to breaking than non-waxed floss. The layer of wax tends to make it a little more difficult to fit between tightly-spaced teeth, so is not recommended for kids to use. The waxed dental floss category also contains a few sub-types – you can find naturally-coated waxed floss if you’d like a more earth-based approach, as well as whitening floss and fluoride-coated floss. Fluoride-coated floss is generally recommended for those who might live in rural areas or drink bottled water regularly and helps maintain the integrity of your teeth.
Unwaxed Dental Floss
Unwaxed dental floss contains the same basic principles as waxed, minus the wax coating, which means it’s ideal for flossing tightly spaced teeth. It’s a little more prone to breaking than wax-coated floss, so once again, probably not the best choice for kids.
To Keep Mind…
You might have heard that waxed floss is more effective than unwaxed for removing plaque build-up between teeth. However, a recent study proved that neither waxed nor unwaxed floss was better than the other. Both performed about the same, and both were effective, and it simply comes down to preference.
Silk floss makes a great option for those that prefer a more naturally-based floss, but when tested side by side alongside nylon floss, silk floss wasn’t as strong. This type of floss is best for those without tightly-grouped teeth or any dental work.
The name might be quite a mouthful, but this type of dental floss is difficult to pronounce merely because it’s made from the same synthetic material used to produce high-tech rain gear or Gore-Tex. Quite strong and sturdy, it offers premium durability and is great for flossing strongly between tightly-spaced or crowded teeth. It also works well for cleaning around gums to prevent build-up along the gum line, which causes irritation and gingivitis, which can lead to bad breath and a host of other oral issues.
Dental Tape (Waxed or Unwaxed)
Dental tape is made to be wider and flatter than traditional floss, which makes it great for more widely-spaced teeth, and is argued to remove plaque in a way that no other floss can. Its broader filament line allows it to glide between your teeth at their full height, making it extremely effective for removing stubborn bits of leftover food. Dental tape is also great in place of floss for those that have dental work such as a bridge, implants, or braces.
Tufted and Braided Floss (or Superfloss)
This type of floss is constructed with stiff ends and a pliable center strand that resembles standard floss. The rigid ends make it easier to thread the floss between tightly packed teeth to remove build-up. This type of floss is generally recommended for anyone with dental work, such as a bridge, braces, or implants. The center strands are for use as you would any other floss, making Superfloss a great all-around floss for all tooth types.
Floss Holder (such as Placquers brand)
This type of dental floss features a plastic y-shaped handle with a short length of dental floss stretched tightly between the two prongs. It’s easier to manipulate between tight or widely-spaced teeth and takes a bit of the hassle out of flossing. Since it’s easier to use and doesn’t involve unwinding a spool, Placquers make a great flossing option for kids, and some brands even feature fun colors and themes to help make flossing more enjoyable for the little ones and make it easy to teach them a good habit from the start!
A water pick is much like an electric toothbrush, but instead of a brush, is a motorized unit that sends a steady stream or pulsates water between your teeth and around your gum line. The nozzle is generally detachable and cleans easily. Water picks are an extremely effective yet gentle way to remove build-up and plaque from your teeth and gums if you have any sort of dental work, whether a bridge, implants, or braces. We still recommend flossing as well as water picking, but water picks work well as an adjunct to flossing for those that have periodontal problems such as deep pockets.
Still Have Questions about the Best Dental Floss for You?
As you can see, there are a variety of floss options available depending on your needs. Have a discussion with your oral healthcare provider to determine the best type of floss for you and your dental hygiene needs.
And as always, it’s easy to make an appointment at our Boulder, CO office, whether online or by phone. Schedule a cleaning or a consultation with Dr. David Evans today.