Did you know that less than 5% of Australians regularly floss their teeth? And many of us floss just twice a year – the night before our 6 monthly dental check-up.
If you visit your supermarket shelf, just like toothpaste and toothbrushes, there are many types of flosses available these days. There is no one right floss that will suit everyone. Some people use more than one type of floss. Let’s explore some of the common types of dental floss to enable you to choose the right type for you.
Types of Dental Floss
Below are the different types of dental flosses available in the market:
- Waxed and Unwaxed Floss
- Dental Tape
- Super Floss
- PTFE Floss
- Biodegradable and Natural Floss
Which one is right for you?
Waxed and Unwaxed Floss
Nylon floss comes in waxed and unwaxed options. The unwaxed floss is made of about 35 strands twisted together while the waxed option is the same nylon but covered with a light wax coating.
Unwaxed floss fits easily into tight spaces between the teeth but if they are too close, the unwaxed floss can break or fray. The waxed floss easily glides between the teeth and has a less likely chance of breaking. The only downside is the wax coating makes the floss thicker so if you have very narrow spaces between your teeth, you probably are better off with the unwaxed option.
Dental tape is thicker than conventional floss and recommended if you have wide spaces between your teeth. Since it is broader and thicker than conventional dental floss, it does not easily break or fray. Dental tape comes in waxed and unwaxed options.
Super floss is made from a yarn-like material. It is used to clean around braces or dental bridges. Because it has stiffer sections on each end, this type of floss stands up to the rigors of flossing between those complex spaces when wearing braces or dental bridges. Super floss is not as easy to find but most chemists should stock it, or you can ask your dentist to recommend a store.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon) floss is not as well-known as other flosses. The material is a high-tech Gore-Tex fabric that slides between teeth of all spaces easily and has less chance of shredding.
Biodegradable and Natural Floss
If you are concerned with the floss thrown away, you can also buy floss made from silk and waxed with plant-derived vegan candelilla wax, which is biodegradable.
An option to floss is a flossing aid which works the same way but much easier to use, especially with children.
Some of the flossing aids available in Australia are:
- Floss Pick
- Dental Floss Holder
- Vibrating Dental Flosser
- Water Flosser
If you are not sure which flossing aid can work for you, your dentist can help recommend the best option based on your teeth and gums.
Dental Floss Pick
Dental Floss Pick is usually made from plastic, with a curved end that holds a piece of dental floss taut. Usually, the other end forms a toothpick to remove larger food pieces from your teeth or gums.
Some floss picks are disposable, whereas others will have a standard handle with a disposable head. Some dental floss picks will also have a tongue scraper, so if you are looking for a multi-functional tool, a dental floss pick may be a good option for you.
Electric Dental Flosser
An Electric Dental Flosser is good for people who don’t like to manually floss teeth. An Electric Dental Flosser is easy to use and give your gums a nice gentle massage at the same time. They use a sturdy single-line type of nylon that vibrates between the teeth.
Also known as a ‘tooth irrigator’ or ‘oral irrigator’, a Water Flosser works by shooting a thin streak of water between your teeth. However, they should be used to remove larger food pieces from your teeth and not as a substitute for regular flossing.
Which Floss to Use and When?
Brushing does not clean the spaces between your teeth or your gums effectively. Regular flossing contributes to good oral hygiene and is important because it reaches between your teeth, protecting your teeth and gums from plaque that leads to cavity and gum disease.
So, which floss is for you? Although there are many options, no matter what floss you choose, manual or electric, the most important thing is to floss daily. So take charge of your oral hygiene and floss like a boss!
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