Which Type of Dental Floss is Right for You?

dental floss whistler dentist

dental floss whistler dentistEven people with the most thorough brushing technique can’t reach every crevice between their teeth and below their gum lines. Flossing every day removes food and plaque from those hard to reach places, helping to prevent cavities and gum disease. Your teeth will also look and feel cleaner after a good flossing, giving you a gorgeous smile others can’t help but notice.

Unfortunately, many Canadians either never floss or don’t floss enough. According to the Canadian Dental Association, only 70 percent of Canadians floss their teeth, and only about half that number do so every day. If you find yourself among the majority of Canadians who don’t floss every day, you may want to do so more often. The variety of dental flosses on the market, however, can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve never flossed before.

To help smooth the transition, or if you already floss but aren’t sure which type you should be using, here is a breakdown of the major floss types and which teeth they are best suited for. As always, an individual’s specific needs may vary, so it is best to talk with your dentist for customized advice.

Types of Dental Floss

  • Multifilament Floss: These are fabric flosses made of silk or nylon that are comprised of many thin strands wound together. Nylon floss is the most common of all dental flosses. Multifilament floss can be either waxed or unwaxed. Waxing helps the floss slide between your teeth and may feel more comfortable to use, although neither waxed nor unwaxed flosses are better at cleaning your teeth. Multifilament floss is a good product for people who have gaps between their teeth that aren’t too tight.
  • Monofilament Floss: This is a newer type of floss that can be made of rubber, plastic or polytetrafluoroethylene. Monofilament flosses are stronger than multifilament ones, and can withstand being pulled between tight teeth. This type of floss is a good option for people who have small spaces between their teeth and people who have trouble using multifilament floss without it breaking. Monofilament floss is un-waxed.
  • Dental Tape: Dental tape is a broad, flat nylon ribbon that is better at cleaning between teeth that aren’t too tightly spaced. Many people find dental tape easier to use because of its flat shape.
  • Super Floss: This is multifilament floss with stiff ends that can be used to thread the floss between braces or other dental hardware.
  • Floss Picks: Floss picks are a cross between a toothpick and dental floss with a pointed plastic pick on one end and a length of floss between two plastic prongs on the other end. Picks are useful for people who have trouble fitting their fingers in their mouth or maneuvering regular floss between their teeth.
  • Oral Irrigators: These aren’t really flosses at all, but serve the same purpose. Irrigators send a targeted jet of water into even the most difficult crevices. This option is good for people who have difficult to clean teeth or who have dental hardware like braces or bridges.

Remember that whichever type of floss you choose, the most important thing is to floss in the first place. Contact your dentist for personalized advice!