If you’re like many dental patients, flossing is typically one of the harder daily oral hygiene tasks to adhere to. Even patients who brush twice a day for at least two minutes might still have difficulty remembering to floss, or feel like flossing is a hassle. Of course, your hygienist and your dentist will remind you to floss, and many patients have flossing on a “should do” list, but find it’s still easier said than done.
Why is it so important to floss?
It’s possible, though, that flossing could be easier for you if you choose the right floss for your teeth. But before we get into the best dental floss to use for your teeth, here’s why you should take that extra minute to floss.
Brushing alone may not protect you fully from gum disease and tooth loss
This is the advice your hygienist and your dentist give you at your twice-yearly teeth cleaning exams. Brushing and flossing should go hand-in-hand as the absolute best defense against gum disease and tooth loss. Flossing reaches into the places your toothbrush can’t. In fact, brushing only gets about 60% of the job done, so make sure you floss!
Flossing your teeth can give you fresher breath
Since we know that flossing is almost half the job for building and maintaining your best oral hygiene, it goes a long way in helping you maintain fresh breath every day. Harmful, sticky bacteria and food can get stuck in between your teeth, creating an environment for more bacteria and unpleasant smells to grow. For the freshest breath, brushing, flossing and a final rinse with mouthwash is the best approach.
Flossing reaches into places your toothbrush can’t
Sorry, but even that fancy toothbrush you bought can’t hit those contacts in between your teeth. If you imagine that each of your teeth has 5 surfaces (front, back, sides and chewing/biting surface), you miss cleaning 2 of 5 surfaces each time you skip flossing. So make sure you get every surface clean!
Flossing can make your teeth look brighter
Flossing can help you get rid of potential stains near the gumline or in between teeth. If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, flossing can absolutely help keep those dark stains at bay if you floss regularly.
Flossing your teeth can preserve bone height
One of the most important parts of a long and healthy oral history is doing what you can to preserve the bone around your teeth. Gum disease doesn’t just attack gums, it can ultimately affect the health of the bone around the teeth. Flossing helps to maintain bone height and health, meaning that your teeth can do their job and look their best for longer.
What Type of Dental Floss is Best for my Teeth?
Now that you know why it’s important to floss, it’s time to choose the best dental floss for your teeth. Many of our suggestions will come down to your personal preference, so we encourage you to try out a few different types until you find the one you like best. We’ve observed many patients who have finally been able to make flossing a regular part of their oral care just by finding a floss that suits them.
Here are some of our top dental floss picks for common dental issues:
Best floss for crowded teeth or tight contacts
Patients with crowded teeth or tight contacts (meaning the teeth are very close together and sometimes hard to work floss in between) tend to benefit from a very thin or traditional type of floss that is also waxed. The wax helps the floss side more easily between the teeth and will help avoid fraying. Nearly every drugstore brand has a basic waxed floss, and the Oral-B Pro-Health Floss is and affordable option for most patients.
Best floss for sensitive gums
Some patients will have sensitive or bleeding gums, no matter how much they floss. For these patients, a “tape” floss can help with sensitivity. These flosses are wider and less abrasive, so they can slip in between teeth easily. Reach Waxed Dentotape is a good option, but any floss that’s labeled “tape” instead of “floss” will do.
Best floss for braces or bridges
Yes! You should still floss if you have braces or if you have bridges. In these cases, a floss threader (it will have a large loop to hold the floss on one end, and a thin end to guide the floss under wires or appliances) and floss are your best bet. Try the GUM EEZ-Thru Floss Threaders, or ask your dentist if they have a brand they recommend.
Best floss for kids or adults with mobility issues
Some patients can’t floss because of the motor and mobility skills it takes to use floss. For those folks, floss picks can help. Floss picks allow patients to hold just one end of the pick while they work the flossed end in between the teeth. There are some brands made specifically for children with larger handles for little hands, and other brands that are all purpose and come in large packs so you won’t run out quickly.
Bonus: Floss picks are also great for on-the-go use for any patients.
Which Dental Floss Should You Choose?
The bottom line is that you should choose the floss you’re most likely to use regularly! So whether you prefer flavored floss, waxed floss, floss tape or floss picks, it’s up to you. You can also try keeping dental floss in your desk drawer at work or in a purse or briefcase, as well, so that you can always have a pack with you (this is an especially great trick to make sure you get rid of that after-lunch piece of salad in between your teeth!). Remember, the more you can work flossing regularly into your oral care, the healthier your teeth and gums will be.
Remember: The above information is to be used as general guidelines and should not be substituted for medical advice. Contact our skilled dentists for a dental exam or professional medical advice.
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