A Guide to Floss and Floss Alternatives

dental flossRemembering to floss daily is a struggle for many. If you happen to fall under this category, don’t give up just yet—with so many flossing options available today, there is sure to be a flossing method to suit your daily routine.

Standard Floss

The cheapest alternative to be sure, standard floss comes in waxed and unwaxed varieties and in a myriad of flavors from mint to cinnamon to grape. To use standard floss, take a piece about 18 inches in length and wind it around each index or middle finger, then guide it gently between your teeth.

Floss Threader

A floss threader is a lot like a sewing needle, only it is flexible and made of plastic. Floss threaders are a great option for those with braces, connected crowns, or bridges. To use one, thread the floss through the threader like you would with a needle, then guide the threader between the crevices in your teeth.

Stiff, Pre-Cut Strands of Floss

Also a great option for those with braces, these pre-cut strands of floss are stiffer at the ends and spongy and thicker along the length. To use, simply guide one of the stiff ends of floss through a space in braces or underneath a dental appliance.

Floss Picks

These are small, plastic picks with a U-shaped piece at one end fitted with a small piece of dental floss. The other end usually comes to a point so that it can be used much like a toothpick. These disposable flossers are especially great for those who have a hard time maintaining daily flossing as a habit. There are also floss picks available with interchangeable heads.

Proxy Brushes

Also referred to as “interdental cleaners,” proxy brushes are small cone-shaped brushes that are especially useful for removing debris stuck between braces.

Water Flosser

A water flosser is an electric tool with a water reservoir that, when directed at the teeth, uses a small flow of water at high pressure to remove food lodged between the teeth. Water flossers come in both battery-powered and cordless varieties.

No matter which flossing method you decide is best for you, just remember to stay consistent—flossing daily helps remove plaque that your toothbrush leaves behind, which could otherwise develop into tartar or calculus.