You know how important flossing is to remove plaque and bits of food from between your teeth, however, only around 40 percent of Americans floss every day while 20 percent report never flossing. Some people simply forget or don’t think it’s important, but there are some who don’t like flossing because it’s uncomfortable, irritates their gums, or gets stuck in between the teeth. We want to encourage as many people as possible to practice good dental hygiene, and we know choosing the right floss can be difficult. To help you, Dr. Hamby, an experienced Fuquay Varina dentist, is sharing the pros and cons of using waxed or unwaxed dental floss.
Waxed Dental Floss
Just like its name suggests, waxed dental floss is coated in a thin layer of wax that allows it to glide between the teeth more easily and is less likely to snap, shred, or break during use. The wax is perfectly safe and is not known to cause any allergic reactions. However, the added wax does make the floss a bit thicker, which can actually make it more difficult to use in tight areas where your teeth may be crowded.
Unwaxed Dental Floss
Unwaxed dental floss is comprised of about 35 strands of thin, nylon filament twisted together into a single strand that can often fit in crowded areas where the thicker waxed floss can’t. Even though unwaxed floss is very thin, there’s nothing to improve how it glides, so it can still catch on areas in between teeth and it’s much more likely to shred or break during use, which can be very frustrating.
Other Options Beyond Waxed or Unwaxed Dental Floss
For decades, the only options on the market were waxed or unwaxed dental floss, but the past few years have brought several alternatives that may help you take better care of your teeth.
Water flossers shoot a slightly pressurized stream of water that reaches between teeth and around the gumline to loosen and remove plaque. Many studies find that this option works just as well at preventing plaque build-up and decay as dental floss, so it’s worth consideration if you are searching for an alternative.
This option is ideal for people with mobility issues that make traditional flossing difficult, and it also works well for people with braces where floss can’t access the areas of the teeth due to the metal brackets. Also, people who experience bleeding when they floss, torn or stuck strands, or other issues may find a water flosser to be a better option. However, these are more expensive and can be a bit messy at first until you get the hang of them.
Dental Floss Picks
A dental floss pick has a toothpick on one end and on the other, a u-shaped piece that holds a small piece of dental floss in between the sides. Instead of having to use a long piece of floss that can be inconvenient, as well as difficult to use, the floss pick effectively removes particles between the teeth.
Like a flosser, this option is excellent for people with mobility issues, and it’s also a good way to start teaching children how to floss effectively. For people who want to floss after meals, this is also a good way to do so discretely and quickly. However, because you’re using the same piece of floss through your whole mouth, other bits of debris can be deposited between your teeth, or the floss can wear out before you’ve finished.
While people with crowded teeth struggle with flossing because the thread gets stuck, people with wider gaps and space between their teeth often struggle to properly clean because the thread is so thin it can miss particles. In this case, the dental tape may be a better option because it has a broad, flat surface that’s just a bit wider than floss. Because it’s flat, it can slide between teeth more easily, but it’s also a bit more gentle on your gums as it’s not likely to snap against the tissue and irritate them.
Schedule a Dental Checkup with Our Fuquay Varina Dental Center Today
Flossing is just one key part of dental hygiene, but to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy, it’s important to schedule a dental checkup and teeth cleaning. If it’s been longer than six months, or you’re looking for a new family dentist who you can trust to provide excellent care in a comfortable setting, schedule an appointment with our office today by calling 919-552-2431 or filling out the form below to get started.