Flossing is a part of oral hygiene that is often neglected. Not only does it help clear out unsightly food caught between the teeth, but regular flossing also helps to get rid of plaque and prevent gum disease. Want to start flossing, but are overwhelmed by all of the floss options on the market? We’ll help you choose the best one to keep your teeth in tip-top shape!
Types of Floss
Unwaxed floss: best for getting between tightly-packed, crowded teeth, this floss made from nylon yarn breaks and frays more easily than waxed floss.
Waxed floss: floss that has been given a layer of wax coating, this floss generally lasts longer, but is more difficult to use, especially with crowded teeth.
Dental tape: wider and flatter than traditional floss, dental tape works best for those with more evenly spaced teeth.
Polytetrafluoroethylene floss: commonly sold under the brand name Glide, this floss is made using the same materials as rain gear! It is typically easier to use and lasts longer than other types of floss.
Floss threader: best for those with bridges, braces, or dental implants, these plastic tools allow you to efficiently navigate the floss around your dental work.
Super floss: another great option for braces or other dental work, super floss features stiff ends which allow you to get into tight spaces.
Floss holder: a great choice for those with limited dexterity, floss holders are Y-shaped tools that you thread the floss through. There are also disposable floss holders that come pre-threaded with floss for on-the-go.
How Do You Floss?
Many Americans skip flossing because they think it’s too tricky or time-consuming — according to the American Dental Association, only 40% of Americans floss every day. Eek! To keep your teeth and gums strong and clean, follow these steps:
- Rip off about 18 to 24 inches of floss, then wrap the ends around your index and middle fingers.
- Pull the floss taut so that it is stiff, then begin to work it back and forth between your teeth.
- Once you clean between the teeth, curve the floss into a “C” shape and work it into the gum line along the base of the tooth. Be careful when you do this — your gums are very sensitive!
- To remove the floss from between your teeth, continue with the same back and forth motion.
- Gradually adjust your grip on the floss as you navigate between teeth to keep the floss you’re using clean.