By Brooke Ellis on Apr 12, 2021 @ 10:46 AM
We all know that we should be flossing, but only about 30% of U.S. adults report flossing every day. Are you one of the many Americans who doesn't floss as often as they should? Flossing every day can help prevent the buildup of plaque, which can eventually lead to gum disease.
Just as with toothpaste, the dental hygiene aisle in your local store is full of many different options for dental floss.
Here's a look at some of the more popular types of dental floss and their benefits. Which type of dental floss is right for you?
Waxed dental floss has a coating of wax around it that can help you ease it into the gaps between your teeth without hurting sensitive gums. According to the Journal of Periodontology, 79% of people prefer to use waxed floss compared to unwaxed. Waxed floss is also recommended if you have braces, as the wax coating makes the floss less likely to catch and fray on your braces. However, waxed floss tends to be thicker than other varieties, so if your teeth are very close together, you might have difficulties using it.
Unwaxed floss is dental floss that—you guessed it—lacks a waxy coating. If you've tried to use waxed dental floss but found that it caused pain or was difficult to fit between your teeth, consider switching to an unwaxed variety, as they tend to be thinner. However, make sure to be careful when flossing. If you press unwaxed floss into your gums too hard, it can cause pain and bleeding. Unwaxed floss also squeaks when all the plaque has been removed from your teeth, making it easier to tell when your job is done.
Dental tape, or wide floss, is recommended for people who have very large gaps between their teeth, or who have had bridgework done in their mouths. Many people also report that they find it easier to fit in between their teeth than traditional flosses.
Floss picks are small lengths of pre-portioned floss attached to a piece of plastic that has a pointed edge. The tip of the plastic can be used before you floss to pick out any large pieces of food stuck between your teeth. These picks take out the hassle of pulling and cutting a new length of floss every day, and are available with both waxed and unwaxed floss.
Your oral hygiene is important, so be sure to experiment and find the floss that is best for you. If you think flossing is a big chore or hassle, you might just be using the wrong type of floss for your teeth; flossing should be easy and comfortable. Just a few minutes in the morning and evening can keep your smile happy and healthy!