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How to Choose the Dental Floss That Is Right For You

Confused About Floss — Which Type Is Best?

Brushing your teeth removes food particles and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth, but we need floss to clean in between your teeth. "You cannot effectively vacuum a house with only one attachment," says American Dental Association spokesman Richard H. Price, DMD. "You need other attachments to get into the nooks and crannies. That's what floss does.”

When picking up floss at the store, it's astounding how many varieties there are. If you're confused about which one works best or is right for your teeth,


  • Unwaxed: This floss is perfect for teeth that aren't too tight together.
  • Waxed: If the spaces between your teeth are tight, waxed floss will glide easier.
  • Tape: This ribbon-like floss is meant for those who have wider spaces between their teeth.
  • Ultra floss: If the spaces between your teeth vary, this floss is right for you. This yarn-like floss stretches thin to fit between tight teeth but also springs back to be slightly thicker for teeth that have wider spaces.
  • Flossing picks: If it's tough to reach your back teeth or it hurts your fingers to wrap the floss around, these picks have convenient handles to make flossing easier.

The bottom line is that it really doesn't matter which type of floss you use — as long as you use it. Choose one you like that doesn't damage your gums and use it at least once a day. Flossing not only removes leftover spinach and pesky poppy seeds from in between your chompers, but it's also essential for healthy gums. So the next time you go to the dentist, ask for some samples of different kinds so you can try them out and see which you like best.

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