Types of Dental Floss and Aids - A Guide to Dental Floss

If you are not familiar with dental floss then it is easy to assume that there is only the one type but you’d be wrong. There are in fact several types of dental floss which include:

  • Waxed and unwaxed floss
  • Teflon floss
  • Thread floss
  • Flavoured (e.g. mint) and unflavoured floss
  • Tape floss (also known as ‘dental tape’)

These all have the same thing in common: they are soft, flexible and easy to use.

Thread, teflon and waxed/unwaxed floss is thin whereas dental tape is thicker. Your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to recommend the most suitable floss for you. You may have to try several varieties until you find the one that suits you best.

It is usually a case of personal preference.

Floss is also available in different ‘shapes’which is spongy, flattened or round. There is also a variety called ‘superfloss’which is a combination of all three.

There is also the option to use a special ‘flossing aid’if you have difficulty with flossing your teeth.

Waxed and unwaxed floss

Some dentists prefer unwaxed floss as the threads tend to absorb food particles better than the waxed version. They claim that waxed floss leaves a film on the teeth which then act as a magnet for plaque.

On the other hand, some people find that waxed floss is smoother and moves more easily between the teeth than unwaxed floss. It is less likely to catch on any rough edges of your teeth or start to fray.

One example is Oral-B Waxed Dental Floss. They also offer a mint flavoured variety.

Teflon floss

This type of floss works quickly and easily. It is made from Teflon which means that it will not stick in between your teeth but if it does, then it comes away very easily.

A well known brand of this type of floss is Crest ‘Glide’.

Glide appears to have attracted rave reviews and is especially designed for people who are reluctant to floss their teeth. It is made from a shred-resistant material and is stronger and more durable than many other types of floss. It also moves or ‘glides’ easily between your teeth – hence the name ‘Glide’.

Thread floss

This is made from nylon and works in the same way as any other type of floss.

Flavoured and unflavoured floss

A flavoured type of floss, for example mint or cinnamon, is more pleasant to use and leaves a nice, clean taste in the mouth. There is also a type of floss which is coated in fluoride which may protect against tooth decay.

The unflavoured type of floss is as the name says.

Tape floss (dental tape)

This is thicker than conventional types of floss and is often preferred by people who have widely spaced teeth. It is an ideal type of floss for people new to the habit and has the advantage of not breaking or fraying.

It also has a smooth action when sliding between the teeth and for that reason, is often chosen instead of the thread type floss.

An example of this is Colgate Dental Tape.

Flossing aids

A flossing aid is designed to help people who find flossing awkward or difficult to do. However there are several types of aids which are designed to make this easier to do. These include:

  • Vibrating dental flosser
  • Dental floss holder
  • Flossing stick

Vibrating dental flosser

A vibrating flosser is easy to use and has the additional benefit of massing your gums at the same time. But they are more expensive than the conventional flosser.

Dental floss holder

A floss holder is available in a particular form, e.g. a ‘Y’ shape and is effective at helping to clean between the teeth. The floss is attached to the holder and used in the same way as someone using their hands.

Floss holders vary in length and those with the shorter handle are more difficult to use.

These are ideal for people with dental implants, a bridge, orthodontic brace or crowns.

Flossing stick

These resemble a common or garden stick and are most effective when the floss is wound tightly onto them. Basically, the tighter the floss the greater its effectiveness.

Are there any alternatives to dental floss?

Toothpicks or ‘interdental’ brushes are an option although floss is great at accessing those tricky areas between your teeth and under your gum line.

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved