Are Floss Picks Better than Regular Floss?

Flossing should be an essential component of everyone’s oral hygiene routine. Dr. Amy Farmer, a dentist in Longmont, encourages her patients to floss at least once a day, every day. Several of our patients have inquired about the effectiveness of different types of floss — some want to know if regular floss is more or less effective than floss picks. Dr. Farmer addresses that query below.

The Importance of Flossing

First, let’s establish the importance of flossing. Dental floss helps remove food particles, bacteria and plaque that get stuck in between the teeth, where toothbrush bristles cannot reach. If left between the teeth, the plaque can start to demineralize the tooth enamel, causing cavities. Plaque can also irritate and inflame the gum tissue, leading to red, bleeding gums and gum disease. Studies show that gum disease is linked to a higher risk of problems like heart disease and respiratory problems. While you may not realize it, flossing is actually good for your oral and your overall health!

Regular Floss versus Floss Picks

Traditional floss comes in a plastic container holding a long spool of continuous thread. One piece of floss is normally wound in between the fingers and worked in between the teeth and along the gumline to remove bacteria and food particles. A new segment of floss should be used for each tooth.

Some people, particularly those that have arthritis in their fingers or dexterity problems, find it difficult to floss with regular floss. It can also be challenging to reach in between the back teeth (i.e., molars) with regular floss.

Floss picks are small plastic devices with a piece of dental floss threaded through the opening. The plastic handle of a floss pick is easy to hold, and there is no need to wind or unwind sections of floss around the fingers. Many people find it easier to use floss picks, especially when flossing the teeth further back in the mouth.

However, the design of floss picks can make it challenging to use proper flossing technique. Also, using the same piece of floss throughout the entire mouth can redistribute bacteria and food particles.

So far, no convincing research has found that one type of floss has a clear advantage over the other. The best type of floss is the floss that you are most likely to use correctly and regularly (i.e., every day).

For more information about keeping your teeth clean and healthy for life, please call or email Crossroads Dental of Longmont today.

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