Dental Floss vs. Floss Picks: Which One Is Right For You?


Dental hygiene is a very important part of your personal health. Gum disease not only affects your mouth, but it is linked to numerous other health problems including diabetes, strokes, and heart disease. In addition to getting regular check-ups at your dentist, a daily regimen of brushing and flossing can help you maintain good oral health. In flossing, there are two general types of tools: the dental floss that resembles string, and the floss picks. Here are some tips on how to choose the one that works best for you.

Why is flossing important? Your toothbrush often cannot clean between your teeth effectively. As a result, plaque can build up between the teeth and gum line, and this can result in cavities and gum disease. The dental floss can get between these tight areas and clean out the build-up, thus minimizing the development of plaque. Both the string floss and floss pick are designed for this purpose.

The string dental floss was patented during the 19th century. The first model used silk floss that was packaged in a carrier with a cutter. Today’s floss is made from nylon and other plastic materials. They can be waxed, unwaxed, flavored or unflavored. To floss with this, you pull out around 15 to 18 inches of material, then wind a segment of that around your fingers. You work that segment between two teeth and between the teeth and gum line to clean the build-up. You use a clean section of floss when you move to the next tooth.

This is an effective method that the dental experts teach their patients. However, some people find it awkward to hold the floss properly. It can also be hard to floss the back teeth. It can take a bit of practice before you get comfortable with the technique. This can be particular difficult for young children because they might not have the necessary fine motor skills. Another challenge is that some people use too much pressure when flossing, resulting in bleeding and sore gums.

The floss pick is a newer invention. It is a plastic device that has a curved head where a section of dental floss is secured. The other end of the pick might be shaped like a toothpick that can dislodge large particles of food stuck between your teeth. Floss picks are easier to use because they are easier to hold. Younger kids can use them effectively.

You can get to the back teeth easier, but they are not as effective as string floss when flossing between the teeth and gum line. Also, you should not use the same pick for the whole mouth because you risk transferring bacteria among your teeth. Using multiple picks during one flossing session can become costly over time. It’s less costly with string floss.

So, there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of floss. When you compare the traditional dental floss vs. floss picks, you have to ask yourself which type fits you the best. No matter which one you choose, it is important to follow your flossing routine diligently every time you brush your teeth. Just spending a few extra minutes each time on this very important step will reduce your chances of developing more serious dental problems down the road.

If you liked this article you’ll want to check out our other article: Does Mouthwash Help Prevent Cavities?

Here Are Some Alternatives to Dental Floss

Hi there, I Dr. Bob Tanger I’m a periodontist in Northern Utah and today I want to talk about how to save your teeth particularly with flossing alternatives. If you want to save your teeth probably, the most important thing you can do is to eliminate the bacteria that caused gum disease because that’s why most people lose their teeth because of gum disease

Gum disease almost always starts between the teeth in small pockets that develop in those areas. If you can keep those areas clean and free of bacteria chances are, you’re gonna prevent gum disease and you’re gonna save your teeth. Let’s talk about some of the alternatives to floss and some of them that I use personally this is a selca brush. It’s got a very small tip and it works very meticulously around the necks of the teeth and a little bit between the teeth.

This is one possibility. The way this would work would be one would very carefully clean around the necks of the teeth and work it in between the teeth to stimulate the tissue between the teeth and clean under the gums there as thoroughly as you can.

You do that on the outside and don’t forget the inside it’s very important as well one and is specifically for the inside the other end is specifically for the outside. This makes it even easier for you to use.

Next, we have another version of the selca brush by Sun Star. This has just one end but again it’s small. I like the handle because it’s got a rubberized grip that makes it perhaps a little bit easier to use and again used on the outside work it between the teeth. Used on the inside work it between the teeth can be very valuable.

So we’ve talked about some of the brushes that can help as in our native to flossing. Now let’s talk about some of the instruments that fit really between the teeth for cleaning very thoroughly instead of floss or in addition to floss between the teeth.

This one, number one is the gum proxy brush and this is what it looks like it’s Christmas tree in shape. Of course, you work it between the teeth to clean thoroughly between the teeth. Outside is a little more difficult than on the inside but you can bend it if you need to get to the inside.

This could be helpful. Again some people like this and favor it another version of the proxy brush is one that is not Christmas tree shaped but is straight, it may fit in smaller areas between the teeth.
Perhaps some areas like this. All of these are sold in drugstores.

Next, what I use personally to clean between my teeth and I use them every night. This to me is perhaps the most valuable tool in cleaning between your teeth I like it even better than dental floss. Floss is great I like this even better. It’s called a soft pick advance. I love these I work them between my teeth every day very thoroughly on the outside and on the inside.

They’re great now they do bend, so one that gets bent just throw it away and take another one. These are sold at Walgreens they’re not always available everywhere but I know Walgreens has them. If you have difficulty doing the inside the outside is really the most important thing. When you do the outside make sure and go all the way through to the inside so it’s cleaning very thoroughly.

This is probably what I use the most and recommend to virtually all of my patients. The doctor pics are very good because some places the soft pick advanced may not fit and this will fit. It has two ends are brushing and a pointed end. I use the broad and I do use these periodically also.

Sometimes for a change of pace, sometimes for areas that are more difficult to reach with the other tools. Again all the way between the teeth so you get the inside and the outside. If the teeth are very tight you may want to use the point at end kind of like a toothpick to clean between there. This is certainly one of the most important replacements or additions to dental floss.