I don’t often walk down the dental aisle at the grocery store, but went to check it out this week just to see what our patients see when they are choosing between different products. I couldn’t believe how many options there were when it came to floss! Most people think floss is floss, as long as you’re using something its better than nothing right?

Some types of floss may be easier to floss with, but they don’t clean plaque off as well. This means more gingivitis and calculus build up for the hygienist to clean off at your cleaning appointment (i.e. it hurts more!). There are pros and cons when comparing different types of floss so I thought I would make a quick summary here for everyone. So what type of dental floss is most effective?

Unwaxed vs. Waxed floss: Waxed vs. unwaxed floss comes down to personal preference. Waxed floss has a thin coating which makes it easier to get the floss between your teeth. It is great if you have teeth that are tightly spaced together. Unwaxed floss can fray a bit easier which most people find frustrating. We find the best waxed floss to use is the G.U.M Butler weave brand. It slides between the teeth relatively easily and also cleans plaque effectively.

Dental tape: Thicker and flatter than regular floss. It comes in both waxed and unwaxed. Meant for people with larger spaces between their teeth, it is a lot less likely to break. Not great for people with tightly spaced teeth as it is too hard to get this in between.

Polytetrafluroethylene (PTFE) Floss: I would avoid this kind of floss. It does slide between the teeth easily so people like it, but does not clean plaque off very effectively at all. Examples would be the Oral B/Crest glide floss.

Superfloss: has a stiff end to thread around braces or under a bridge, a puffier/thicker section, and then a regular floss end.

Waterflossers (eg. Waterpik): Great for gum health, great around braces, bridges and implants. You do still need some regular floss though as this doesn’t get right between the contacts of teeth where cavities start.