types of floss

Did you know that the global dental floss market is worth over $558 million? That’s a lot of floss and shows that millions of us care about our dental health.

Recently, there has been an increased awareness of how oral health benefits our overall health. So when you floss, you’re not just doing your teeth and gums a favor. By keeping them in great shape, you’re benefiting your whole body!

But floss is not a one-size-fits-all product. There are so many types of floss on sale that it can be hard to know which is right for you.

Let’s explore the different types of dental floss, how to use them, and who should use them.

Who Needs to Use Dental Floss?

Floss is a type of interdental cleaner, meaning it goes in between the teeth. There are also tiny interdental brushes that do much the same job.

The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth with floss every day. Kids should also start flossing when their teeth become close together. They may benefit from a wider type of floss.

Flossing helps to remove plaque from between the teeth. If you don’t floss regularly, this can develop into tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist and can cause gum disease.

The different floss types all do the same basic job. But they feature different designs or features that make them easier for certain people to use or more appealing.

The Many Types of Dental Floss

If you’ve got teeth, there’s a floss out there that’s right for you. Here are the top choices that are widely available today.

Waxed Dental Floss

Regular floss is made from nylon. Waxed varieties feature a thin layer of wax that lubricates the floss and makes it easier to use. This is great if your teeth are very close together as it’s easier for the floss to get where it needs to.

It’s also great for beginners and comes in a range of enticing flavors!

Unwaxed Dental Floss

Unwaxed floss is also made of nylon, but it can have the tendency to shred. That’s because it’s not lubricated like waxed floss.

However, some people love the fact that it’s unflavored and is super thin. That makes it easier to maneuver if you have crowded teeth.

Recycled and Natural Floss

Floss can also be made from recycled polyesters and is then infused with natural ingredients. These products are noted for their strength and shred resistance. They are slightly textured, which helps to remove plaque from tooth surfaces.

They are also flexible and can fit between most surfaces. They use natural lubricants, such as coconut oil and vegan wax.

Silk floss is an option for people who like to keep things natural.

It’s 100% biodegradable. It’s naturally smooth and glides easily between the teeth. It’s just as effective as regular nylon floss.

PTFE Dental Floss

PTFE floss is very strong, soft, and thin. It glides effortlessly between teeth, getting into the tiniest spaces with ease. For this reason, it’s growing in popularity right now.

If you find flossing uncomfortable, give PTFE floss a try. You may find it much kinder to your gums and it might help you get back in the habit.

Dental Tape

Dental tape is a wider, flatter style of floss. Some people find it easier to use due to its flat shape and the fact that it’s stretchy. Its shape makes it easy to slide between teeth.

If you’re struggling with regular floss, dental tape might be a good alternative.

Water Flosser

Instead of using floss, a water flosser directs a jet of water into the area between your teeth. However, some dental professionals don’t recommend them.

The ADA gives its Seal of Acceptance to water flossers that can get rid of plaque. If you do buy one, make sure that it has this seal so you know that it will be effective.

Floss Picks/Sticks

Floss picks are ideal if you find regular types of floss difficult to use. These small tools can be maneuvered between even the most inaccessible teeth at the back of the mouth.

Soft Picks

Soft picks are interdental brushes that are an on-the-go alternative to floss.

They feature a tapered end with bristles that can fit in gaps between teeth. They are also great for cleaning around dental work, such as bridges, crowns, and implants. They’re just as effective as floss when used correctly and are a great option for people who find regular flossing too difficult.

Floss for People With Braces

It is possible to floss teeth with braces with regular waxed floss. Don’t choose unwaxed, because it can break and get caught in the braces, not good.

It takes a lot of time and it can be quite frustrating to thread the floss through the braces to get the job done. An oral irrigator/ water flosser could be a simpler option. They come with tips for orthodontics and because they use water there’s no threading involved.

Floss threaders are a great option for braces. They allow you to tackle teeth one by one. Reload it with fresh floss after completing one set of teeth.

Dental tape is another great option for brace wearers. It’s wider, more spongy, and just more comfortable than regular floss. The only drawback is that you have to use it the same way you would traditional floss.

Which Floss Is the Best?

And the winner is… all of them!

The best type of floss is the one that you will actually use. If you find your current floss too difficult, consider switching to one of these alternatives. You might find one that is better suited to your particular needs.

The key is regularity. Choose a type of floss that will help you to floss every day.

The Right Types of Floss for You

It’s true that there are a lot of dental floss options on the market. But the best types of floss are ones that you feel comfortable using and will use regularly. Along with brushing twice a day and regular checkups with your dentist, they’re the best way to maintain great dental health.

At Southeast Family Dental, our team is ready and waiting to help you achieve a great smile. Whether you need general dentistry, cosmetic or restorative care, we’ve got the right treatments for you.

Call us at (317) 359-8000 or schedule an appointment today.