Having traveled down the oral care aisle of your local CVS or Walgreen’s; it’s not hard to see that the market is flooded with new solutions to old dental problems. From water pic irrigation devices to one-time-use toothbrushes and everything in between – there’s no shortage of choices!
We get a lot of questions from our patients about which dental floss they should use. To be honest, the best floss is the one that you’ll use. We are thrilled to hear that flossing is a priority in so many of our patients’ lives. They understand floss cleans away plaque that a toothbrush will miss. It’s an essential part of good oral health. In fact, only brushing and not flossing, is just doing half the job. Flossing daily is something everyone should do.
We made a list of the most common types of dental floss and some considerations around whether they are right for you:
Unwaxed or naked floss is usually easier to maneuver because it’s made up of a thin nylon yarn typically composed of 35 strands twisted together for strength. Some patients whose teeth are a little crowded find the unwaxed version preferable. Lastly, the chemicals used in the waxed floss can often interfere with the taste of food, which is also why many like the unwaxed version.
Many patients prefer waxed floss because of the very same reason others dislike it: the taste. All waxed floss is basic dental floss coated with a light layer of wax, which sometimes has mint or other flavors to appeal consumers to purchase. Flavors used in the wax creation can be a motivator. Many find it to be more resistant to breaking than unwaxed floss, which is a plus.
Polytetrafluorethylene floss (PTFE) is the same material used in the high-tech Gore-Tex fabric. Patients like how the material slides between their teeth easily and is sometimes easier to clean plaque around the gum line. Lastly, it’s less likely to shred compared to basic floss.
Dental tape (waxed or unwaxed)
Dental tape comes in waxed and unwaxed options. It’s broader and flatter than traditional floss, which patients like. For teeth that are not tightly spaced and have large gaps between teeth, dental tape seems to do the trick.
Does it matter what kind of floss you use?
The Journal of Periodontology conducted a study that recently showed that there was no difference in the plaque-removing ability of four different types of flossing products, which is great news if you’re picky about floss type. Twenty-five individuals were assigned to use four different products: unwaxed floss, electric flosser, woven floss, and a shred-resistant floss. All four floss products showed to remove plaque compared with tooth brushing alone significantly.
Please floss, your teeth, gums, hygienist, and dentist will thank you; most of all, your future-self will. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with our hygienist for one of our preventative maintenance treatments at our Smithtown office, feel free to give us a call at (631) 724-0455.