Flossing daily is a necessary step in effectively keeping your teeth clean and strong. It removes particles of food that get caught in between teeth. While this might not sound harmful, bacteria feed off of these leftovers, accumulate into a sticky film called plaque, and produce enamel-damaging acids that lead to decay and sensitive teeth. Plaque also irritates and inflames gums, causing gum disease. This is why we stress the importance of cleaning in between teeth. Many of our patients have asked if it’s OK to use a floss pick instead of string floss. Read on to learn the difference between these two flossing products so you can make a decision about which one is best for your smile!
Flossing with traditional dental floss is one of the most effective ways to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. You can buy this product unwaxed or waxed in a variety of flavors. It is usually sold in a plastic container with a flip lid, which makes it easier to distribute. For best use, pull out about 18 inches of string, wind it around your middle fingers, and glide a new part of the floss in between each pair of teeth. Gently scrape each tooth’s surface one by one to remove food particles and debris. We recommend flossing before brushing if possible, so that you can then sweep away all particles that may have become loose.
Floss picks, most commonly in an “F” shape, have a plastic handle and about an inch of string between two rods. The problem with picks is that because they contain far less string, you are essentially cleaning different teeth with the same bit of string over and over again. This redistributes the bacteria from in between teeth, rather than just transferring it completely to the floss. For this reason, we don’t feel that floss picks are an adequate substitute for string floss. However, they are a quick solution for on-the-go flossing.
We want you to do your best to make sure you’re cleaning in between your teeth every day. Although we recommend traditional string floss as your go-to for daily oral hygiene, floss picks can be handy for travel or on-the-go moments. But we’d rather you clean your teeth with picks than not floss at all!
Remember that we are here to help you have outstanding oral health. Please let us know if you have any questions about which dental products are best for your unique smile. And if you’re ready to schedule an appointment for your next cleaning, contact our team today.