floss types and their differencesA thorough oral hygiene routine will include daily flossing. In fact, failing to floss regularly can result in a wealth of health complications, ranging from gingivitis to tooth loss. While the most important thing is that you take the time to floss, different kinds of floss may make your oral routine more or less complicated depending, on the state of your teeth.

Floss Make and Materials

There’s a bevy of floss types on the market, each with their own pros and cons:


With twisted strands of thin nylon, unwaxed floss is ideal for those with crowded teeth as it can easily get between tight spots. Unwaxed floss is relatively fragile, though, and shreds during use more than other types of floss.


Waxed floss consists of the same nylon strands as your average floss but has a small coating of wax, which makes it stronger. The coating of wax allows the floss to glide effortlessly between your teeth. However, waxed floss may prove more difficult for use in snug spaces.


Made from hefty materials such as Teflon rather than nylon, this floss type is more resistant to fraying. Another difference is that monofilament floss consists of only one strand rather than many twisted together. Its durability is a major draw, but this kind of floss does tend to cost more than other types.

Dental Tape

Dental tape has a wider, flatter shape than standard floss. Its thickness provides durability and is a good option for those with large spaces between their teeth. However, dental tape doesn’t aid well to fitting in tight spots like between crowded teeth.

Polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE)

PTFE floss is both durable and boasts the ability to glide easily between both large and small spaces, made from materials also found in high-tech Gore-tex fabric. Its supreme glide ability makes the flossing experience simpler for people with tight-fitting teeth or complicated dental work. It should be noted, though, that chemicals found in PTFE might have a negative impact on other aspects of your health, but these findings have been debated.

Alternative Flossers

Do you find string floss to be a nuisance? These alternative floss types may be the solution to your flossing woes:

Water Flossers

Also referred to as oral irrigators, a water flosser is an electronic tool that shoots a steady stream of water between teeth and underneath your gum line. Water flossers are beneficial for those with permanent dental appliances as you don’t have to struggle with getting string in between apparatuses. Since these flossers use a rinsing action rather than scraping, it’s possible that they’ll leave some plaque behind. This method can also be a bit messy due to the splashing of water.

Floss Picks

Available in a handle form or individual disposable flossers with a pick on the other side, floss picks come with a small pre-sectioned area of floss between the hand-held device. These are great for on-the-go oral care and may also be less difficult to use for people with dexterity issues. One issue with floss picks, though, is that there’s not much floss on each head, meaning you could be spreading bacteria if you don’t change the heads out frequently in even a single flossing session.

So which floss type is right for you? The answer is simple: whichever one you’ll use the most! Whatever kind of flosser or materials you choose, you should also make sure that the brand has the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval. Happy flossing!

Dentistry at East Piedmont offers comprehensive oral care for patients, with services addressing both cosmetic and general dentistry needs. Reach out today to achieve a beautiful, healthy smile!

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