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Best Flossing Tools

Bacteria prefer to grow in warm, moist environments, which means the inside of your mouth is the perfect place for them to thrive. When bacteria aren’t removed, they join together and form the mass that we know as plaque. If not cleaned off, plaque can lead to problems like gum disease and tooth decay.

Even though brushing your teeth will remove some plaque buildup, it can’t remove all of it, and that’s where flossing comes in. But despite its advantages, and the fact that it only takes 2-3 minutes to floss your teeth properly, so many people forget to floss.

So, since flossing is one of the many things you can do to improve your oral health this new year, the dentists at Salling & Tate wanted to make getting started easy. That’s why we’ve pulled together some information on the different types of floss available, as well as some alternatives to flossing that can help you take better care of your teeth and eliminate plaque buildup.

How to Choose the Right Floss

Finding the best floss for you really comes down to your needs, teeth, and budget. For example, if you have a smaller mouth, you may elect to use a flossing tool versus traditional floss. If your teeth are very close to each other, you may need a different floss than someone with gaps between their teeth would. No matter which flossing product you choose, the important thing is that you start flossing at least once every day and stick to that routine no matter what.

Types of Floss

In terms of traditional floss, you might be surprised to learn that there are actually plenty of different kinds of floss to choose from:
 
Nylon floss is the most common kind. Chances are if you walk into a store and choose a generic brand of floss, it’s going to be unwaxed, nylon floss.

Waxed floss is just nylon floss that’s been coated in a layer of wax. This is particularly useful for people with tightly-packed teeth, as the wax helps the floss slide into small spaces more easily.

Tufted and braided floss is the general term for a string of floss that combines stronger, stiffer ends with a fluffier, spongy floss in the middle. Oral-B makes an excellent version of this, called Super Floss, that’s ideal for people with braces, bridges, or permanent retainers.

Flavored floss is usually just nylon floss that has been coated in a layer of flavor, in the hopes of making the task of flossing more appealing. Adults typically enjoy mint-flavored floss, while kids tend to choose one of the many sweeter flavors, like strawberry, grape, or bubblegum-flavored floss.

Dental tape, also known as tape floss, consists of fibers that are woven into a wide, flat strip, instead of a rounded one. Some people find that tape floss works better for them because it can be easier to fit in tight spaces.



Substitutes for Floss

If you’re not a big fan of flossing, you’re in luck. There are plenty of flossing products out there that are designed to make flossing less of a chore. Plus, many times, flossing tools are more efficient than traditional floss and do a more effective job of removing caked-on plaque.
 

Water Flossers

Praised for being extremely efficient, water flossers use high-powered streams of water to blast plaque off and wash it away. Since they can reach areas that traditional floss can’t, they also tend to be much more efficient, especially for people with orthodontic devices. On top of all that, the strong stream of water can reach below the gumline, which helps to improve gum health. Waterpik is the most recognizable water flosser, but there are plenty of other brands to choose from as well.

Floss Picks

Probably the most cost-efficient option, flossing picks feature a handle with a toothpick on one end and a strip of floss held tightly in place on the other end, making it easier to reach further back in your mouth. Floss picks come in many disposable, plastic varieties, or you can purchase a more permanent version that features a sturdier handle and gives you the ability to refill the floss yourself. Plackers and DenTek™ are the two most common brands, but you can find plenty of others, including generic options, everywhere from drug stores to gas stations. You can also buy floss picks for kids that feature extra grippy handles and a variety of fun flavors.

Threader Floss

Orthodontic appliances can make it extremely difficult to floss, leading both kids and adults to avoid the struggle entirely. Fortunately, threader floss makes it much easier. With traditional floss in the middle, threader floss also features stiffer ends that are perfect for weaving in and out of braces, retainers, etc. Most orthodontists will happily give you a sample pack, but you can buy more online for a very affordable price.

Interdental Brushes

These tree-shaped brushes are a great option for almost anyone, from kids with braces to adults without. In addition to the brush on the end, most varieties feature a long handle that’s slightly angled to make reaching small spaces even easier. Most people opt for a variety pack with different-sized brushes to be used in different-sized spaces. The is an excellent choice, but you can find plenty of others online and in stores.

Regardless of which type of floss or flossing tool you choose, make sure to look for the American Dental Association seal of approval. The ADA goes to great lengths to ensure each product they put their name on meets their high standards for safety and effectiveness.

And don’t worry about whether you’re a “good” flosser. The only way you can go wrong with flossing is by not flossing at all. But, if you haven’t flossed for a while, it might be a good time to come in for a teeth cleaning at Salling & Tate. Schedule yours today by clicking here or just give us a call at 910-256-9040.
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