Flossing is an important part of your dental hygiene program and should be done on a daily basis. Without flossing, you are leaving your teeth and gums vulnerable to destruction by tooth decay and periodontal disease. Walking down the drug store aisles you will see choice after choice of different types of dental floss by different companies. How do you choose the right dental floss for you?
Different Types Of Dental Floss
Generally there are two types of dental floss on the market today. These include the following:
-Multifilament floss (like nylon floss or silk floss). This is the traditional, most common form of dental floss most of us are used to. Nylon floss is also the cheapest and usually found in generic brand name floss. This type of floss can be made wider and fluffier to accommodate wider spaces, and have additives such as fluoride incorporated. This type of floss will tend to break and shred during use.
-Monofilament floss (aka single filament). This type of dental floss is usually made of a type of rubber, plastic, or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This floss uses newer technology, and since it isn’t a fabric like nylon, it doesn’t rip or tear. Due to its strength, many people prefer this type as they find it easier to pull between teeth without breakage. The plastic/rubber type tend to glide easier between teeth so many companies call this type of floss Glide.
Dental Floss Options
Now that we know the two basic types of dental floss available, what options can come with either of them?
-Flavor. This can be important to many because it makes the chore of flossing a little easier if it tastes ok. Dental floss can come in flavors ranging from bubblegum to mint to even bacon (yes! bacon flavored dental floss is available!).
-Thickness. Dental floss can come in various size thickness. This is important because our teeth are unique to us and are not one size fits all. Everyone has different size teeth as well as different size spacing between our teeth or under and around crown and bridge work. The best thickness dental floss for you is the one that is able to slide easily between teeth without shredding or getting stuck, and wide enough to remove food particles. Snapping or slicing dental floss between teeth is a good way to cause injury to the gum tissues.
-Waxed or Unwaxed. At one time this was the only option. This option is only available for nylon dental floss. The monofilament floss does not need wax it slides just fine on its own. The wax is simply there to help the floss squeeze between teeth easier. It is a personal preference as to use waxed or unwaxed. There is no clinical difference between the two.
-Dental Tape. This type of dental floss is basically a wide, flat ribbon of nylon. Many people find dental tape easier to get between their teeth than traditional floss due to it being thinner. Dental tape and dental floss are generally in the same family, despite having different names.
-Dental yarn. This floss is soft, wide, and fluffy. It is great for wide spaces and in areas of periodontal disease. Some woven yarn flosses even have fluoride particles embedded so that you can leave strengthening fluoride between the teeth where you need it most.
-Threader Floss. This floss has a hard end which can be easily used to thread under braces and bridgework. It is easier to use than a plastic floss threader, and saves time.
Best Dental Floss On The Market
Presently, Reach has a newer dental floss called Total Care. It is wide like a tape, but elastic and stretchy to accommodate almost any space. It also next to impossible to break while flossing.
Dental Floss Conclusion
Flossing is an essential step in maintaining good oral hygiene. There are so many choices today, it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. Talk to your hygienist about your personal needs, he/she should then be able to suggest the best type of floss for your oral condition.The key takeaway is to use what works best for you and use it regularly to have a happy smile for a lifetime.