To Floss or Not to Floss Is Not the Right Question

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Marea White DDS woman flossing teeth

The real question people have is knowing what kind of floss to use, and in fact, just knowing how many different types there are to choose from can be enough of a reason to not want to floss at all.

We know how confusing this can be, so we put together this guide to help clear up some of the confusion and make sure you have all the information you need to choose which floss is best for you rather than not flossing at all.

What’s in a Shape?

There are actually five different kinds of floss “shapes” to choose from; they are as follows:

  1. Flattened floss is probably the most popular, because it is specifically designed to increase the contact surface with the tooth; it’s flat like a thin ribbon.
  2. Tape floss is thicker and wider than conventional types and is best used by people with widely spaced teeth because it covers more surface area and may clean the wider spacing more effectively than standard floss.
  3. Ultra floss is a great starter floss because it often comes with pre-marked strands to help you learn how much to use. It is a soft and spongy floss that stretches thin to fit between teeth but then springs back to its original thickness.
  4. Round floss is generally a thinner floss but is getting more difficult to find due to its lack of popularity. It has a tendency to cut into the gums and doesn’t cover as much surface area as other types of floss available.
  5. Superfloss is ideal for cleaning between fixed orthodontic appliances, such as braces, and cleaning fixed bridges. This floss actually contains sections of a stiffened-end threader that contains both spongy floss and regular floss, which makes it easier to slide around and between appliances.

Marea White DDS oral irrigator

Flossing Aids

Now that you are familiar with the different shapes that floss comes in, we want you to know that there are also several different flossing aids that are available to make it even easier!

If you’re just not comfortable with the whole idea of using floss, or you need something a little easier, here are your options for flossing aids to choose from:

  1. Oral Irrigators send a small, high-pressure stream of water in a pulsating action between your teeth. These come in a variety of options and sizes such as countertop or portable, and can be filled with water or antiseptic solution depending on the model. Some models are available with a small attachment to get under the gumline for those who suffer from periodontal disease.
  2. Vibrating dental flossers have the benefit of massaging your gums but can be a bit more expensive.
  3. Dental floss holders are designed in either a “Y” shape or a “knife” shape. New dental floss can be reattached to the non-disposable kinds after each use. If you purchase the disposable kind, you need to consider the tautness, as the more taut the thread, the more effective it will be at cleaning between your teeth.
  4. Flossing sticks (also known as floss picks) resemble a toothpick and are great for those with dental appliances to help them get around the appliance. However, these are not as thorough as regular floss.

All the Rest

Along with all the shapes and flossing aids that are available, you also have the option of choosing between waxed or unwaxed, multifilament or monofilament, coated or uncoated, and flavored or unflavored.

With all these options available, there are no more excuses for not flossing. If you have any questions or concerns about which floss you should be using, contact our office to go over which option is best for you and your family.
~Dr. Marea White