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What You Need to Know About the Dental Floss

Dental experts have always stressed the importance of flossing at least once a day. It is meant to remove plaque, prevent cavities and heart disease that can result from failure to practice this daily oral hygiene routine.

Most people, when they hear the words dental floss, acknowledge knowing the product right away. Most, however, are only familiar with the usual white floss in a self-dispensing plastic container that they often buy at the supermarket.


Today, though, this dental product comes in a variety of colors, materials and even flavors. In the early days, it was made from silk fibers to form a long flexible strand. These days, nylon filaments or plastic monofilaments are the most common materials being used.

It should be noted, that the floss is different from the so-called interdental cleaners. The latter are usually special wooden or plastic picks (also known as toothpicks), sticks or brushes also used to remove food stuck in between the teeth.

Types of Floss

The waxed type is the most common and is ideal for people with tightly spaced teeth. With the wax, the floss is able to slide through the teeth easily despite the extreme tight space in between.

There’s also the regular or unwaxed floss which can be used by people with regularly spaced teeth.

Apart from the regular strand kind of floss, another type is the dental tape recommended for people with large spaces between their teeth. Additionally, it can be used by those with bridge work.


To those who are observant enough, you would know that the floss comes in different shapes. The flattened type is meant to increase the contact surface with the teeth.

The spongy and soft type, on the other hand, is known a the ultra floss while the round type is the thinner one.

The superfloss is a mix of the others as it has segments of the spongy and regular floss as well as the threader with a stiffened end. This is ideal for people with fixed orthodontic appliances such as braces.


With regards to flavor, mint is the most popular. It is usually the preferred flavor owing to the feeling of freshness it gives to the mouth.

Some are also coated with flouride. The objective of this type is to prevent tooth decay from occurring on the adjacent tooth surfaced.

Normally, the dental floss comes in a small self-dispensing box. Thankfully, though, manufacturers have also considered people with dexterity problems or those with arthritis and have thus created single-use holders.

The dental floss stick can be used by people having difficulty using the regular strand. Parents and caregivers can also use them to help small children or the elderly in cleaning their teeth.

This stick comes in different shapes – the knife shape or the Y shape. Their handles also differ in length. For the non-disposable type, a new thread of dental floss can be reattached to the holder every time after use.

About the guest author:

Leslie Owens is a professional blogger that shares information on the latest technology in oral care. She writes for Embassy Dental, a top dental practice in the Nashville TN area.

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