closeup of dental floss

Types of Dental Floss: Which Is Right for You?

There are many types of dental floss, and there is no one right floss that will suit everyone. Some people have more than one type of dental floss on hand for different scenarios. Let’s explore some of the common types of dental floss to enable you to choose the right type for you.

Types of Dental Floss

Here’s an overview of the types of dental floss available on the market.

  • Thread floss
  • Waxed and unwaxed floss
  • Flavored and unflavored floss
  • Tape floss is also known as dental tape
  • Super flosses
  • PTFE floss
  • Biodegradable and natural floss

Which of these options is right for you? It’s challenging to make a decision without being fully informed of how to maintain your teeth properly.

Thread Floss

Thread floss is made from nylon and works the same way as other dental flosses. Easy to use and easy to glide in between the teeth.

Waxed and Unwaxed Floss

Dental floss also comes waxed and unwaxed.

  • Unwaxed floss is made from nylon made of about 35 strands twisted together.
  • Waxed floss is also made from nylon and covered with a light wax coating.

Some people prefer the unwaxed variety as it absorbs food particles better. Unwaxed floss fits easily into tight spaces. However, if your teeth are close together, this type of dental floss tends to break and fray along the edges.

The waxed variety of dental floss tends to glide through the teeth better. Waxed floss is less likely to get stuck between the teeth or get caught on rough edges. It also doesn’t fray or break as quickly as unwaxed dental floss. The downside is that the wax makes the floss a little thicker. Therefore, if your teeth are close together, you may prefer to use unwaxed dental floss.

Flavored and Unflavored Floss

If you love that fresh minty flavor many kinds of toothpaste boast of, you can also get dental floss in flavors. A mint flavor leaves a pleasantly fresh, clean taste in the mouth. You could try a flavor like cinnamon or even a floss coated in fluoride. If you find it hard to get your children into the habit of flossing their teeth, then flavored flosses are the way to go.

Tape Floss or Dental Tape

If you have widely spaced teeth, you might try tape floss, also known as dental tape. It’s thicker and broader than conventional dental floss and doesn’t easily fray or break. It gives you the feeling of getting into both sides of a tooth where you have larger gaps in between.

Super Flosses

Super floss is made from a yarn-like material. It’s used to clean around braces or dental bridges. Because it has stiffer sections on each end, this type of floss stands up to the rigors of flossing between those complex spaces when wearing braces or dental bridges.

PTFE Floss

PTFE stands for polytetrafluorethylene and is the same material you find used in the high-tech Gore-Tex fabric. It slides between your teeth with ease. It’s perfect for those who have a challenging tooth formation or crowded teeth. Because perfluorooctanoic acid is a possible carcinogen, you might want to consult your dentist before using PTFE floss.

Biodegradable and Natural Floss

If you’re concerned about the environment, you can buy floss contained in glass bottles that can be reused and packaged in biodegradable packaging.

You can also buy floss made from silk and waxed with plant-derived vegan candelilla wax — it’s also biodegradable.

Flossing Aids

Did you also know that when it comes to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, there are also various tools to help with flossing your teeth?

  • Flossing stick;
  • Dental floss holder;
  • Vibrating dental flosser;
  • Water flosser.

It might take some experimentation to find the right tools for your unique needs, but your dentist can help make recommendations based on their professional knowledge.

Flossing Stick

A flossing stick resembles a stick and is the most effective when wound tightly onto it. The tighter the floss, the more effective it will be.

Dental Floss Holder

Dental floss holders come in a ‘Y’ shape. The floss is attached to the top points of the Y and works in the same way as you would if holding floss in your hands. Quick and easy to use, the Y floss holders are easy to get into those hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.

The longer the handles, the easier they are to use. They are ideal for people who have crowns, dental implants, a bridge or orthodontic braces.

Vibrating Dental Flosser

Suppose you don’t like the idea of standing in front of a mirror and flossing your teeth manually. In that case, you can opt for a vibrating dental flosser. They are easy to use and give your gums a nice gentle massage at the same time. The downside is that they are more expensive than standard dental floss choices.

This electric flosser uses a sturdy single-line type of nylon that vibrates between the teeth. This oscillating motion is excellent for those who have difficulty with dental floss. Be careful when using an electric vibrating dental flosser, as it can be hard on the gum line.

Water Flosser

A lovely way to floss that also has a massaging effect is a water flosser. A water flosser shoots a thin streak of water between your teeth and the gum line, removing plaque and food particles with ease. They are an excellent option for those with braces and bridges.

Which Floss to Use and When?

If you are on the road or at work, a small container of nylon dental floss or dental tape is a fantastic choice. If you need a boost of freshness, mint-flavored floss can be a great choice when traveling. It means you don’t have to carry mouthwash. When you are at home, you can treat yourself to your water flosser or vibrating flosser.

While there are so many flossing options to choose from, choosing the right one for you need not be overwhelming. No matter what floss you choose, manual or electric, the most important thing is to floss daily.

Whatever flossing product or technique you use, the important thing is your oral care routine. If you are unsure what the right dental floss is for you, contact the office of Angela Bateson, DDS at 419-863-2636 or schedule an appointment.


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  1. […] good flossing habits, you could end up with cavities. Strings and picks are two of the most common floss types. Before you make a decision, we’ll look at each to see if it has any strengths. String floss […]