Are you a dental floss connoisseur? Didn’t think so. But walk into a drugstore, and you have choices to make. It’s not just waxed or unwaxed anymore. There’s super floss. Dental tape. Electric flossers and water flossers. Green options include natural floss and biodegradable floss.
Don’t fret. Dental hygienists say the best floss is the one you find easiest to use—and therefore habit forming.
But if you are like many new mothers, you want all the information about getting dental x-rays while pregnant and breastfeeding, before making a decision.
Unwaxed floss: Best for tight spaces
Are your teeth set close together? Traditional, unwaxed floss is made of thin nylon strands and fits into tight spaces. Its non-slip grip makes it easy to hold. Some dentists believe that unwaxed floss cleans better by absorbing more plaque and food particles. Unfortunately, unwaxed floss can fray or break. If that becomes a problem, you can switch to the sturdier waxed floss.
Waxed floss: Best for rough edges
For teeth with rough or irregular edges, waxed floss is the ticket. The waxed coating allows floss to slide rather than snag and it strengthens the material, preventing the floss from fraying or breaking in use. Additional benefits: waxed floss comes in flavors including cinnamon and mint, as well as whitening options, welcome incentives to floss. More importantly, you can also find fluoride-coated floss, allowing you to strengthen your enamel as you clean your teeth and gums. Fluoride-coated floss is particularly recommended for people living in rural areas or who drink bottled water regularly.
Dental tape: Best for larger gaps
Do you have larger gaps between your teeth? Try dental tape. It’s wider and flatter than regular floss and is sold in both waxed and unwaxed versions. Because it glides between teeth at their full height, it’s very effective in removing bits of leftover food.
Water flossers: Best for gentle care
If your teeth or gums need gentle care, try a water flosser. This electric wand shoots a thin stream of water between teeth and around the gum line. Water flossers are quite effective, removing food particles and plaque with ease. Of course, they’re more expensive than other dental floss options and they aren’t as portable.
Super floss: Best for braces and bridges
Water flossers are also good for maneuvering around braces, bridges, and implants. You can try super floss, too. Super floss is a pre-threaded flosser that comes in pre-cut segments. It has a stiff end that helps guide it through tight spaces and hard-to-reach areas.
Electric flossers: Best for when you need a helping hand
If you have arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or for any reason find it difficult to maneuver dental floss by hand, consider trying an electric flosser. Electric flossers use a sturdy fishing line-like nylon that vibrates between the teeth in an oscillating motion. Don’t overdo it, though. Overzealous use of an electric flosser can wear down your gum line.
Natural and biodegradable floss
Some brands make dental floss out of silk, which will biodegrade in a landfill or even your back yard. However, silk floss isn’t as strong as other floss.
PTFE floss: Not recommended
PTFE floss, made of polytetrafluorethylene, slides with ease between crowded teeth and through complicated dental work. However, PTFE contains suspected carcinogens as well as compounds that may disrupt hormone levels and compromise the immune system. Many oral health professionals recommend selecting a non-PTFE floss. Read package labels before you buy.
Talk to your dentist and try different dental floss options until you find the one that works best for you. If you’re not sure, start by looking for products with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. That way, you’ll know it’s safe for your teeth and will get the job done
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