• What Flossing Option Is Right for You

  • Why floss? While a good toothbrush removes a great deal of surface bacteria from your teeth, it just can’t get in between your teeth where bacteria loves to settle and grow. Even though it may seem like your teeth are touching, there is still enough space for bacteria and plaque to accumulate. It might not seem like much, but when left unattended it can cause quite a bit of damage. At Hood View Dental we see plenty of patients with tooth decay between their teeth – that’s right, in that area where they seem to be touching. Flossing and having regular cleanings done at our office are the best ways to avoid this sort of decay.

    Types of Floss 

    When was the last time you looked closely at the different options of dental floss at the store or online? Did you realize that there are different kinds of what seem like the traditional spool of dental floss? 

    Luckily these days you don’t have to simply use the old string. While traditional dental floss is very effective, there are a few options for you. 

    Waxed Dental Floss

    This type of floss is made out of nylon and has a light coating of wax. Sometimes these are also flavored. The wax allows the floss to more easily glide in between your teeth – but this means it might slide more easily between your fingers too. There tends to be less breaking and fraying with this type of floss as opposed to un-waxed floss. But this does mean it is thicker than un-waxed floss. This might make it more difficult to reach the smallest of spaces. 

    Un-waxed Dental Floss

    When dental floss does not have a wax coating it is typically made of nylon and not flavored. You might find yourself using less floss since it is so thin and can reach into tiny spaces more easily than waxed floss. It may also be easier to grip. The downside is that it is weaker and has a tendency to break or fray while in use. 

    PTFE Dental Floss

    Instead of being composed of nylon, this type of floss is made from polytetrafluorethylene. This is the material that is used to make high-tech fabrics like Gore-Tex. This state-of-the-art material glides easily between teeth that are tightly packed and intricate dental work. However, Perfluorooctanoic acid is used in the making of this Teflon – which may be carcinogenic. 

    Dental Tape

    Instead of a thin string like the previously mentioned dental flosses, dental tape is flat and wider. Coming in both waxed and unwaxed means you have even more options. Some people prefer this larger surface for griping plaque that has built up between wider gaps in your teeth. And because it is thicker it has less of a tendency to break or fray. It may also be easier to grab and less painful when large amounts of pressure are applied to the gums or when it is stretched across your fingers. However, this might not be the best type of dental floss for those with very crowded teeth or dental work that requires finer precision. 


    There are two major categories when it comes to threading dental floss. 

    1. Plastic Dental Needle – A soft malleable plastic needle made specifically to thread your dental floss through braces, dental work, or large gaps between teeth. Threading dental floss in such a manner can be a good way to clean in those little crevices from braces or in bridges, but may be difficult when trying to reach tighter spots.
    2. Pre-Cut Dental Strips – Frequently referred to by the Oral-B name of Superfloss, these strips are pre-threaded with a stiff end that help you navigate through tight spaces. These can be great for older patients who struggle to maneuver traditional dental floss but may not be able to reach into tight spaces. 

    Dental Water Flosser

    Instead of using floss or tape to clean between your teeth you can opt for a dental water flosser. This device shoots a powerful thin stream of water that you can angle in between your teeth. This can be a really good option for those with braces, bridges, or other dental work. 

    Dental Picks

    The dental picks that have a handle and a small amount of dental floss are the least effective. You should use a fresh bit of dental floss for each segment of your teeth, but this device does not allow for that. These are good if you are experiencing arthritis and cannot handle any other method of flossing. They can also be handy on the go. For daily use it’s best to use other methods.

    With so many options how can you not floss your teeth daily? Some studies have even shown that flossing can add five years to your life. Why not have five more years with a beautiful smile?