I want to address a question many ask about floss. Is there a difference in brand? What kind is best? Can I use a water pic instead? So todays post is part II in our series ‘Decoding The Label: What type of floss should I use?’
Generally there are two types of floss: Rope and Tape. They are either waxed or un-waxed.
Tape: a flat string usually made of a smooth material: this is the type of floss that we recommend the most due to the ease of use between tight teeth and teeth with a lot of restorative work such as fillings and crowns.
Rope: this is usually a braided or round string or rope that can be covered in wax or not, depending on your preference. I tend to avoid this type of floss due to the difficulty of use. Often times if you have tightly contacting teeth this type tends to fray or break more often than a tape will.
Specialty floss and floss threaders:
There are a series of flosses and floss threaders that are made specifically to be used around bridge work and braces. Super Floss is a brand that I recommend often for patients because it is a thick and spongy floss with a flexible plastic end that is relatively easy to use underneath bridgework and around orthodontic brackets.
Dental Flossers: these are small plastic handles with floss attached at the end, most often a rope type of floss. My opinion on floss threaders is, if you find that you can not or will not use any other type of floss then they can be used. But I rarely recommend them since you lack the ability to maneuver them around the teeth appropriately and can do a little damage to the gums if the patient is not careful when using them.
Water pics and Air flossers: these are electric tools similar to an electric tooth brush that either use air or water to force debris out from in between teeth and out from under restorative work. My opinion on these tools is that while I believe that they have improved water pics and air flossers immensely in the past few years, they are an adjunct to the use of regular floss. The use of regular dental floss is still the gold standard.