The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing at least once a day to achieve optimal oral health. By flossing daily, you help remove plaque from the areas between your teeth that the toothbrush can’t reach.
But with so many different types on the market, which kind of floss is best?
The simple answer is that you should just choose the type of floss that you are most comfortable using so that you will continue to floss on a regular basis! (For tips on how to floss properly, check out our article on Home Dental Care.)
You should, of course, look for the ADA Seal of Approval to ensure that your floss has undergone safety testing and is approved for regular use, but the rest is up to you.
Nylon floss comes waxed or unwaxed and in a variety of flavors and thicknesses, but there is no clinical difference in how well they work. The difference in simply in how they feel.
You should not use a floss that ‘snaps’ through the gaps and hurts your gums. If your floss does this, try switching to thinner floss or a dental tape. Dental tapes tend to be thinner and easier to thread between teeth.
Similarly, if you are using a floss that tends to get caught between your teeth and/or shred, you should also try either a thinner floss or a dental tape, that might slide through the openings more easily.
Alternative Interdental Cleaners
There are also a wide variety of ‘interdental cleaners’ in stores, which all provide cleaning in situations where regular flossing is not quite sufficient – such as for bridges, crowns, braces and varying size tooth spaces – or when the individual has difficulty using traditional flosses.
Small dental brushes
These fit between teeth where there are larger gaps, or around dental hardware, and allow a more efficient cleaning.
Fixed floss holders
Shaped much like tiny slingshots, these are single use flossers that allow someone not able to hold a long string of floss to much more easily clean between teeth.
Use a powered or ‘sonic’ pulse of water to clean between teeth.
These interdental cleaners can all be effective for a variety of situations, and your dentist can recommend which type would work best for you. Just as with floss, when purchasing be sure to look for the ADA Seal of Approval so that you know the product has been properly safety tested!
For a fun and interesting video about the history of flossing from the ADA, click here!
If you live in the Fort Smith area and would like to discuss the best interdental cleaner for your particular situation, please call our office at 479-452-1738 or use our Contact Form to schedule an appointment!