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What Should I Consider When Buying Dental Floss?

Nicole Madison
Updated Feb 16, 2024
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Though buying dental floss may seem to be a simple task, there are some things to consider before making a purchase. Choosing the right kind of dental floss can be important for caring for your mouth properly. The right dental floss can also make your oral hygiene routine pleasant, instead of frustrating.

When buying dental floss, always take the time to consider the spacing of your teeth. Your teeth are unique and you want to make a choice that will work best for you. For example, waxed dental floss seems to work best for individuals with closely spaced teeth. Waxed floss tends to be easier to guide between teeth that are very close together. This type of floss also tends to be sturdier and less likely to break off between your teeth.

If you have wide gaps between your teeth, it may be wise to choose a tape dental floss. Tape dental floss is thicker than other types of floss. As such, it is generally better suited to flossing between widely spaced teeth.

When you’re buying dental floss, you’ll find both flavored and unflavored floss from which to choose. Selecting flavored or unflavored floss is really just a matter of personal preference. However, flavored dental floss may be good to have at times when brushing or rinsing your mouth is not possible. Flavored dental floss can help you to have a clean tasting mouth at such times.

If you have limited dexterity or you suffer from a condition that makes manipulating regular floss difficult, consider buying dental floss that is preloaded in a holder. This type of dental floss has a plastic handle, allowing you to floss your teeth without much maneuvering. You can even purchase power flossers designed to make your job even easier.

You’ll find lots of variety when you’re buying dental floss. You’ll likely find polymer and cord floss, as well as nylon varieties. Some floss is made of space-age materials, offering a particularly smooth flossing experience. When considering your options, be aware that most dental floss studies show no difference between the cleaning efficiency of the available varieties.

When in doubt, ask your dentist for suggestions about buying dental floss. He or she may be able to advise you on buying dental floss that is well suited to your mouth. Your dentist can also provide you with tips for perfecting your flossing technique.

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Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By robbie21 — On Dec 21, 2011

@dfoster85 - Asking the dentist for samples is not a bad idea. The only thing to be aware of with that is that reps tend to drop of samples of their "fanciest" products, the most expensive ones with the most features. That might be fine, but they probably won't have samples of unwaxed floss, for instance.

My husband went years without flossing because he couldn't get his hands in his mouth well enough. Finally, a dentist recommended the Reach Access and he loves it! It's a much better quality than you get with cheap disposable flossers. I think he's had the same handle, which is reusable, for at least three or four years! The angle is a lot of convenient for doing back teeth than with a disposable preloaded flosser. It is more expensive, but if it gets him to floss, it will definitely save money in the long run!

Because not flossing can lead to gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal disease, which can actually contribute to heart disease! (Not to mention that bad teeth alone are enough of a problem.) The best floss is the one that you use!

By dfoster85 — On Dec 21, 2011

I like good old Oral B dental floss myself, the kind in the round container. It is not too expensive but seems to be a good quality. It doesn't shred in my mouth! I have some very closely spaced teeth and the floss can get stuck if I use the wrong kind.

Your dentist probably has samples of different kind of floss. If you don't like the one that you're using but don't want to buy every kind in the store to test it, you might ask your dentist if s/he has a couple different brands that you can try. Typically, representatives of dental hygiene products drop off samples for dentists to give to their customers. (Like how drug reps will give samples to doctors to get patients hooked on name brands. Except that floss is pretty affordable!)

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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