If you have ever been to the dentist, you’ve been given a lecture on how important flossing is. Without flossing, you put yourself at risk for gum damage. That makes dental floss an essential part of home dental care, but with so many options available, it can be hard to choose which one is right for you. Nonetheless, dentists agree that it doesn’t matter so much what kind of floss you pick, as long as you are flossing once a day.
Deciding Between Types of Flosses
- Choose a thick floss when you have large gaps. If you have large spaces between your teeth, pick an extra thick floss. Some options include dental tape or super dental floss. Choosing a thicker floss will help ensure that you are actually flossing all the surfaces of your teeth and makes flossing easier.
- You’ll know you have gaps if a normal dental floss slides in very easily, and you see ample space around it.
- The most likely reason for gaps is you’ve had teeth removed or you had a large amount of tartar (calculus) that was removed by your dentist after scaling and cleaning. Or you could just naturally have larger spaces between your teeth. You may also need it if you’ve had bridge work.
- Pick a smaller floss for smaller spaces. If your teeth are more tightly pushed together, you may need a thinner floss. That is, you don’t want to pick one that says “tape” or “super” dental floss. Those flosses will be too thick to fit between your teeth.
- Choose waxed or unwaxed. You can really use either of these on your teeth, depending on your preference; however, the waxed kind can make it easier to floss if your teeth are packed more tightly together, so you may want to reach for waxed if that’s the case with your teeth.
- The kind you choose won’t make a difference to how your teeth are flossed, as long as you are flossing.
- One benefit of unwaxed floss is that it makes squeaking noises against clean teeth, so it helps you know when your teeth are clean.
- It’s important to use waxed if you have braces, as unwaxed is more easily tangled in your teeth.
- Decide on flavored or unflavored. Whether your floss is flavored is really up to you. It doesn’t make a difference to how the floss works, and it doesn’t add sugar or calories. Flavoring can make it more enjoyable to floss, though, which may encourage you to floss more often.
- Choose between materials. Floss generally comes in two types: multifilament and single filament. The multifilament floss is usually made of nylon, while the single filament is usually made of rubber or plastic. Once again, it really comes down to your preference.
- The nylon version is more common, and it’s what’s mostly used in generic flosses; therefore, it’s cheaper.
- If you have fillings that are not properly adapted between your teeth or if there are small pieces of tartar, the multifilament floss will come out worn off, even after a single use. This can be a good sign that you need to see your dentist.
- The single filament version hasn’t been around as long, so it’s more expensive; however, some people feel like it glides more easily. Also, it’s stronger than the nylon version, so if you have problems with floss ripping, it’s a better bet.
- Look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal. When picking out a floss, check to make sure you see the ADA seal on it. That means that the American Dental Association has reviewed the product and determined it is effective and safe. In addition, it means the claims that the product makes have also been reviewed for truthfulness.
Looking at Alternatives
- Use floss picks for easier access. Some people have trouble flossing the teeth in the back of their mouth. Floss picks stretch a piece of floss between two small plastic arms attached to a stick. This can make it easier to floss, as you only need a single hand to hold the floss.
- Floss picks may not work quite as well as regular floss because they limit the angles you at which you can floss. On the other hand, they can make it easier to floss further back in your mouth where it is harder to reach holding the floss with both hands, especially if you have a small mouth opening.
- Try electric flossers for more removal. In some ways, an electric flosser is much like a pick, in that it has a short piece of floss suspended between two small arms; however, an electric flosser has the added benefit of vibration, so it can help remove plaque more thoroughly, as well as massage your gums.
- Make sure the handle is long enough so you can reach teeth in the back.
- Also, look for a smaller head, as that will make it easier to get into hard-to-reach places.
- Look at water flossers. If you are opposed to the idea of floss altogether, you should look into water flossers. As their name implies, these flossers use a blast of water to help clean plaque off your teeth and between your teeth. Because they use water, you don’t need to mess around with getting the floss between your teeth.
- Water flossers are highly recommended in patients that have dental implants, braces, crowns or bridges.
- Consider wood plaque removers. Another type of plaque remover is a wooden plaque remover. In some ways, this product is similar to a toothpick, but it’s designed for removing plaque. After softening it in your mouth, you insert the stick with the flat side to your gums and gently move it in and out. This product works best for people who have wide gaps between their teeth.
source: “How To Choose Dental Floss.” wikihow.com. WikiHow. Web. August 6th, 2017.
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