Dental Floss vs Pick Floss
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Dental Floss vs Pick Floss

Flossing is one of your best defenses against tooth decay and gum disease. But with a variety of flossing options available on the market (including water flossers), how do you know which is best for your oral health? Today we’re going to cover two of the most popular flossing methods: floss toothpicks and traditional floss. We’ll discuss the differences, share how they both work, which one we recommend, and most importantly, our reasons why!

What’s considered traditional floss?

Years ago floss used to be made of silk fibers twisted into a strand. Today’s floss is “usually made from nylon filaments or plastic monofilaments,” according to the American Dental Association (ADA). It could be treated with a flavor to make flossing more pleasant, or it could have no flavoring at all. Traditional floss is flexible, so you’re able to cut a long enough strand to wrap around your fingers. This allows you to get a good grip on the floss so you can move it between your teeth effectively. Because toothbrushes cannot fully reach between the tight spaces of your teeth, flossing is imperative to maintaining a healthy mouth.

What are floss picks?

While traditional floss is a flexible strand, floss toothpicks are pre-threaded, in a “D” shape. They also usually have a sharp point on the opposite end for “picking” pieces of food out of your teeth or gumline. Most are disposable and come in packs of large quantities, but there are others on the market that have refillable heads.

Here are a couple of downsides to using floss toothpicks:

  • Because the strand of floss is very small, usually about an inch long, you’re spreading bacteria and food particles throughout your mouth. If you were using traditional floss, you could move “down” the strand for each section of your mouth.
  • Floss toothpicks have a strand of floss that’s fixed in place, so maneuvering it around your teeth and gum line may be difficult. You may not get the best cleaning with this method.

Floss toothpicks are definitely better than nothing, but we recommend only using them for on-the-go flossing and using a traditional spool of floss at night before going to bed (or anytime during the day that you decide to do so). Remember, the American Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth daily using an “interdental cleaner (like floss).”

And just as a friendly reminder…

5 steps to a perfect floss

According to Mouth Healthy, here are five steps you can take to get a perfect floss!

  • Step 1: Gather around 18 inches of floss from your spool. Wrap the majority of your floss around one of your middle fingers, with the rest around your opposite middle finger (which will collect the dirty floss as you go).
  • Step 2: Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
  • Step 3: Gently slide the floss between your teeth. The floss should never “snap” between them. 
  • Step 4: Once you’ve guided the floss between your teeth, and you’ve reached the gum line, make a “C” shape with the floss against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
  • Step 5: Holding the floss tightly against the tooth, gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss up and down and left and right. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.

If you or a family member is due for professional dental cleaning, please give our office a call today to schedule an appointment (804) 794-4588

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