Does it Matter What Type of Floss I Use?

Yes.

Well, kind of.

There are certain types of floss better for certain situations.  However, as dentists, we will never get on to you for using the “wrong” type of floss.  We are just happy you are flossing at all.  Any floss is better than no floss.

Technique Matters Most

brown haired girl flossing in front of a mirror
Floss much wrap around the side and move vertically up and down while remaining in contact with the tooth.

Using the proper flossing technique is much more important than using a specific type of floss!  A piece of sewing thread will do the trick if used correctly.  The goal of flossing is to remove plaque that attaches to a tooth where it meets the neighboring tooth.  This is an area that no toothbrush, no matter how wonderful, can reach.  Flossing is essential to great plaque removal.

The proper technique for flossing is called “C-shaped” flossing.  Simply snapping the floss between two teeth in a vertical motion will not remove the plaque.  It might dislodge a popcorn kernel, but it does nothing to disrupt the plaque attached to the tooth.  In order to clean plaque from the side of a tooth, the floss much wrap around that side and move vertically up and down while remaining in contact with the tooth.  This is not something easily described in words.  Check out this video to see the technique.

Different Types of Floss

There is a wide range of floss available on the market today.  In general, the thickness and surface texture of the floss are what differs among the different types.  If you have very tight contacts between your teeth (meaning it is difficult to get the floss through), you should choose a very smooth and thin floss like Oral B Satin Floss.  This floss easily slides through the contacts where two teeth press tightly together.

On the other hand, if you have small gaps between the teeth or openings between the teeth and gums, you may prefer a thicker, rougher floss that will clean more effectively, like Cocofloss or floss tape.

Flossing Accessories

person using a floss pick in between their white teeth
Some people have dental work that requires the use of additional flossing tools, like floss picks, to clean between the teeth.

Some people have dental work that requires the use of additional flossing tools to clean between the teeth.  For example, those with dental bridges or traditional braces need to use floss threaders to access the area underneath those fixtures.  Others with difficulty holding or using traditional floss may need to use floss picks.  These work really well for young children, special needs patients or elderly patients with arthritis.

Do You Have Flossing Questions?

We are here to answer them!  We can help you figure out which floss is best for your current situation.  Call today to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists or dental hygienists.