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Floss Picks vs. Traditional Floss

So it’s your semiannual dental check-up — are you already dreading being asked if you’ve been flossing? The general recommendation is to floss at least once a day, but many of us let that fall by the wayside. If you can’t seem to get into the routine of using traditional floss, then you may want to consider using a floss pick instead. We wrote up a comparison of the two options to help you decide which is best for you.

a child trying to floss

Floss Picks

A floss pick is a small plastic tool that has a piece of floss attached to the curved end. Here are some of its main benefits:

  • Easy to Use — One of the main advantages of a floss pick is that you don’t have to fuss with gripping a long piece of floss. The tool’s design is easy to handle, making it a whole lot simpler to floss your teeth all the way in the back.
  • Double Purpose — The end of a floss pick is tapered into, well, a pick that you can use to dislodge any large pieces of food stuck right near the surface of teeth or even along your gum line.

Here are some of the drawbacks:

  • Redistributing Bacteria — Since using a floss pick means using the same section of floss over and over again, it could result in transferring bacteria between different sections of your mouth.
  • Environmental Drawback — Some people are not fans of using floss picks because many are single-use plastic products. If you’re trying to minimize your impact on the environment, then you might not love the idea of tossing a floss pick in the trash after each use. Or you might want to consider getting a floss pick with a refillable head.

Standard Floss

While string floss may be the traditional way to go, there are plenty of varieties of it. There’s waxed vs. unwaxed floss, not to mention there are different flavored types on the market now, too. Here are some of the advantages of standard floss:

  • More Effective — While a pick has a straight piece of floss, traditional floss has the flexibility to conform, bend, and wrap so you can more effectively clean around the curves and other irregularities of your teeth.
  • Clean Floss — When using traditional floss, you should be taking a good length (about 18 inches long) so that you can use clean section of the floss for each tooth. Having a clean section prevents the likelihood of bacteria spreading from one area to the next.

Here are some of its disadvantages:

  • More Difficult to Use — Some people feel like it’s a hassle handling a long piece of floss (such as young kids or those with arthritis), especially when it comes to getting in those hard-to-reach areas in the back of the mouth.
  • Can Be Abrasive — If you’re not gentle or careful, or if you have sensitive gums, flossing may cause irritation.

Either option you choose, the important thing is that you making flossing a part of your regular dental routine. For more dental tips, contact us at Stratman Family Dentistry!