October 22, 2014
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Choosing the right dental floss for you and your family

Although the array of flosses and flossing products can seem daunting, choosing dental floss does not have to be difficult.

You may be new to flossing or you may want to recommit to making daily flossing a part of your regular oral care routine. But no matter what reason you have for choosing dental floss, the most important point to remember is that the best floss for you is the floss that you will use every single day.

Results from a recent study published in the Journal of Periodontology showed that there was no difference in the plaque-removing ability of four different types of flossing products. In this study, 25 people were assigned to use four different products: an electric flosser, an unwaxed floss, a woven floss, and a shred-resistant floss. All four floss products showed significantly greater plaque removal compared with tooth brushing alone, and the electric flosser showed the highest average plaque reduction after one use.

Are you curious about electric flossers but worried about whether they are safe?

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry compared the safety and plaque-removing ability of an electric flosser and a standard dental floss. In this study, 78 people were assigned to use either a standard dental floss or an electric flosser. After 30 days of use, both groups had significantly less plaque on their teeth than before they began their daily flossing routines, and the electric flosser and the standard floss were equally effective at removing plaque. In addition, both flossing methods were found to be equally safe. No signs of trauma to the hard or soft tissues in the mouth were associated with using either product.

Since research shows that the electric flossers are as safe and effective as the standard floss, should you choose an electric flosser instead of one of the many types of standard floss? Many people can benefit from electric flossers, especially older adults who may have trouble manipulating floss with their fingers. Older children and teens may be more likely to use electric flossers than standard floss because they find them fun, especially if they like using electric toothbrushes.

But you need not choose only one type of floss or flossing product. Different members of your family may need or prefer certain types of flossing products, and these needs and preferences will change over time. Young children may start with specialized child-sized non-electric flossers, such as Oral-B's Stages flosser series, and then graduate to an electric flosser or a spongy floss that fits around braces or other dental hardware.

If you're uncertain about which type of floss is best for you or a member of your family, as your dentist or dental hygienist for advice. Here are some points that might be helpful:

  • Large gaps between your teeth? Try dental tape or Super Floss.
  • Not much space between your teeth? You may find that a waxed floss is easier to slide into those tight spaces.
  • Want less mess? Look for disposable flossers or floss in pre-measured strands.
  • Braces or bridges? A spongy floss is a good option, but any floss can be used if you wear dental appliances, especially if you have a floss threader.

Many people keep standard floss on hand for traveling, and use an electric flosser at home. If your spouse prefers, say, mint-flavored unwaxed floss while you prefer a coated dental tape, you can't go wrong by keeping some basic floss on hand that everyone can use, such as Oral-B's Essential Floss.

Just remember that when it comes to dental floss, flossing every day is the most important choice you and your family can make.


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