Types of dental floss
As with so many things these days, even dental floss comes in a confusing variety of forms. There’s waxed and unwaxed, flavoured or unflavoured, tape (ribbon), string and woven! And now there’s a vegan version which avoids bees wax.
Waxed dental floss
Studies suggest that waxed floss slides between the teeth a little easier and is more resistant to breaking than unwaxed. If you prefer a flavoured floss, it will be waxed. And if you have braces, then only a waxed floss is recommended.
Otherwise, the rest is down to personal preference and when used correctly, they perform equally well.
The floss should be worked between the teeth using a sawing or back-and-forth action and eased towards the gum. It should rub down one tooth, explore between the gum and the neck of this tooth, then cross to the other gum line before rubbing up the adjacent tooth.
Flossing that includes the soft tissues this way helps to treat bleeding gums, control gingivitis and by reducing decay on the edges/sides of teeth does much to prevent tooth loss.
Alternatives to dental floss
If it is difficult to get the correct hold or angles using regular floss, there are now products designed to help out. These include ‘flossers’ which have a small handle and inter-dental brushes.
Clinical evidence supports the role that regular flossing plays in maintaining tooth and gum health, by reaching the places your toothbrush can’t. So if you’re looking for a way to keep your dentist happy AND your dental costs down, take up flossing!