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The Different Kinds of Floss and Choosing the Best One for You

Did you know that there isn’t just one kind of floss that you can buy and use?

Most people only think to purchase the typical small plastic container of nylon floss – and that is perfectly okay. But there are other types of floss that might not only be more effective, but may also suit your lifestyle better, encouraging you to actually floss daily.

Why flossing is important

Before we get into the tools for flossing, let’s discuss why flossing is necessary.

Study after study has shown the effectiveness of interdental cleaning, and just how healthy teeth and gums can be when patients take the time to floss daily. This particular study examined twins who were given different flossing regimens, and found that the twin who flossed daily had significantly less bacteria that was associated with periodontal disease and reduced plaque.

If flossing can greatly reduce of the risk of gum disease, why wouldn’t you want to do it daily?

Different flossing tools

There are a variety of ways to floss your teeth, and there is no reason why you can’t use more than one type of tool. Traditional nylon yarn floss can be great for traveling, but while at home you may want to enjoy the benefits of an electric irrigation device. People with braces need something different, and children can be especially picky with tools, too.

Waxed & Unwaxed Floss

These nylon yarns are the most popular type of floss because they’re inexpensive and easy to use. They’re great for traveling since they are small, and the benefits are still vastly greater than if you were to not floss at all.

Some people may prefer a waxed floss with a minty flavor to give them a cleaner feeling, or to freshen their breath while traveling without mouthwash. Waxed floss may also be easier for people whose gaps in their teeth are tight.

Dental Tape

For those with wider gaps in their teeth, dental tape is a better option. They are thicker than traditional floss, so it’s better for cleaning in between teeth that are more spaced apart from each other.

Superfloss and Floss Threaders

Different tools with similar purposes, these are perfect for individuals who need more control because of implants or braces. Superfloss is thin yet stiff, allowing you to guide through special dental work, and a floss threader helps you push traditional floss with more accuracy and control.

Floss Picks and Holders

This “Y” shape tool is great for children who have trouble using their fingers to guide floss through their teeth. It’s also great for people who cannot fit their fingers in their mouths for whatever reason.

These holders may be easier to use, but they’re generally not as effective as traditional tools. It’s harder to achieve the “c” motion around a single tooth, which is the preferred method of flossing. But, again, any floss is better than none!

Interdental Brushes and Swabs

Much like dental tape, this tool is great for people who have wider gaps in their teeth that need cleaning. But these tools are also great for cleaning in between braces and bridges from food debris. You can find ones with bristles at the end, similar to the strands of a toothbrush, or ones with a thin sponge.

Be sure to purchase brushes that are coated so that they are not damaging to your braces.

Rubber Tip and Gum Stimulators

It’s not uncommon for people to not feel completely clean just using floss, seeing how traditional floss cleans primarily in between your teeth. A gum stimulator, as you may have seen in your dentist’s office, is a tool that offers better cleaning in your gum lines.

When combined with your regular floss and brushing routine, this tool is generally used last before rinsing to remove any leftover debris and plaque.

Oral Irrigators

This electronic tool sends a stream or pulsating stream of water in a jet-like method into a targeted area of your mouth. This method of flossing can get a little messy, so it’s recommended you use this tool over a sink.

Water jet cleaning may have the same benefits as traditional flossing, like debris and plaque removal, but recent studies have shown additional benefits for folks with a greater risk of gingival diseases. Water flossing was proven to be more effective at reducing bleeding caused by various mouth diseases and reducing bacteria associated with them, too.

Knowing the right ones to purchase

As always, you can work with your dental care team to find the right tools for your situation. But if you’re shopping on your own at a local retailer, be sure to look for the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance on the packaging.

If you need a consultation with a dentist, you can book your appointment with us by contacting us here or calling us today at 562-434-6414.

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