Along with brushing, flossing is the most important thing you can do for healthy teeth and gums. There’s a variety of floss types to choose from. Which one is best for you? It depends. At St. Mary’s Dental in Mechanicsville, we’re using this space to summarize what’s available, and what might influence your choice of dental floss.
The reason that flossing is so important is that it removes plaque and food debris from between your teeth, where your toothbrush can’t reach. Left on the teeth, plaque hardens into floss and contributes to tooth decay. The Academy of General Dentistry goes so far as to call flossing the most important thing you can do to fight plaque.
What Kind Is Best?
When it comes to what dental floss to use, there is a lot to choose from. Flavored or unflavored? Waxed or unwaxed? Wide or thin?
No single type of floss is right for everyone. You might even benefit from having more than one kind in your medicine chest. With a little trial and error, you can narrow down your choices to find what works best for you.
A recent study shows there really isn’t much difference, if any, in the effectiveness of the different types of dental floss. Here are some things to consider:
- Waxed floss fits more easily into tight spaces
- Unwaxed floss tends to squeak against clean teeth, an indicator that plaque is gone
- Wider dental tape may work better in gaps between teeth, and on bridgework
One word of caution: we recommend traditional string floss that you can pull out in a long strand, as opposed to a flossing pick. Those little picks are popular, but they only have a tight strand of less than an inch of floss. That makes it all but impossible to wrap any floss around your teeth – and flossing is far more effective when you do that. The little picks are fine for a purse or backpack, when you’re on the go. Just be sure to use regular floss as part of your dental hygiene routine before bedtime.
Whatever your preference may be, the important thing is to floss at least once each day.