Do you floss every day? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost one-third of adults never floss, so if you've been forgetting to floss, you're certainly not alone. There are many products on the market that can be used to clean between the teeth, so re-starting this healthy habit can be overwhelming. Should you stick to standard floss, or should you try a floss pick?
Standard Floss vs. Floss Picks
Standard floss is a familiar product, but there are many varieties of this dental hygiene standby. Some flosses are coated with wax to make them slide between your teeth more easily, while others are made of strong materials to make them fray-resistant. Flosses are even available in fun flavors like bubblegum or cinnamon. Don't be afraid to try different types of floss to see which kind you like best.
Floss picks are one of the many alternative tools that can be used to clean between the teeth. A floss pick is a single-use tool that comes pre-strung with a short section of floss. This floss is suspended between two prongs at one end of the tool, and on the other end, there's a plastic handle. The shape of the handle can vary, and in some models, it's pointed.
Are Floss Picks as Effective?
Proper flossing doesn't just clean between your teeth; it also cleans underneath your gumline. When you use standard floss, you're able to curve the floss around the base of each of your teeth, which lets you clean underneath your gumline. On the other hand, when you use a floss pick, you only have a small, taut piece of floss to work with, and you may have trouble cleaning this area.
The American Dental Association doesn't recommend re-using a strand of floss because it can become frayed or deposit bacteria. It's easy to use a clean section of floss for each tooth when you use an 18-inch strand of standard floss. However, when you use a pick, you only have a short piece of floss, so you'll need to rinse the tool frequently as you move from tooth to tooth.
When to Use Floss Picks
There are some circumstances where using a floss pick makes sense. For example, picks are a handy tool for when you're on the go. If you get a piece of food stuck between your teeth while you're out of the house, you can use your floss pick to discretely remove it, and then the floss pick can be thrown away.
Floss picks may also be a good option for people who are unable to use standard floss. If you aren't able to grip a strand of floss due to a health condition, you may be able to grip the handle of a floss pick. Picks may also be helpful for people with braces since the prongs may be thin enough to fit underneath the wires. Be sure to ask your dentist or dental hygienist if a floss pick is a good alternative to standard floss in your particular situation.
Daily flossing is an essential part of your oral health routine, so remember to floss your teeth in addition to tooth brushing every day.