What is Dental Floss? - A Guide to Dental Floss

Dental floss or ‘floss’ for short is a slim thread (or tape) which you use to remove food debris from between your teeth. It cleans those areas which cannot be reached by a toothbrush and can form part of a good daily oral regime.

Do not use this instead of a toothbrush! It is vital that you continue to use a toothbrush on a daily basis as this will protect your teeth from the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Using floss with a toothbrush will ensure a thorough clean of your teeth and gums as well as giving them that extra bit of protection.

Dental floss is about 45 to 50cm in length and usually comes in the form of a soft, silken type of thread.

Is there more than one type of floss?

There are several types of floss available which include:

  • Unwaxed floss
  • Waxed floss
  • Teflon floss
  • Thread floss
  • Flavoured/unflavoured floss
  • Dental tape (thicker than thread floss)

If you find flossing difficult, for example, due to arthritis in your hands then there are various aids available. These include a flossing handle and an electric flosser.

These and other aids are discussed further in our types of dental floss and aids section.

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