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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.

Join The Conversation
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I found the coolest thing ever. It's a floss holder that you can reuse by putting new floss in whenever you floss. It makes reaching your back teeth really easy and you can put in whatever floss you want. I have really tightly spaced teeth, so I like the waxed floss.
jelibeann jelibeann 7 years
amen...i don't get how people don't's definitely something i harp on if i forget to do it...crest glide for me...i keep the sticks in my desk at work, but they hurt sometimes, so I don't use them regularly
runningesq runningesq 7 years
me too beth ! and I feel so CLEAN after I floss and then brush :)
bethinabox bethinabox 7 years
I use the Crest Glide floss. I love it. :) I also actually really love flossing... It's kind of like scratching an itch. :) Satisfying.
cg130 cg130 7 years
Thanks for the help! I usually just buy whichever floss is cheapest. I have to use threaders to help floss around my permanent retainer, and I hate it because it hurts a lot...the threader is really thick and it's painful to squeeze it in between my teeth.
biarose biarose 7 years
I like using the floss sticks.. like a toothbrush but with floss on the end. It helps me reach right up the back!
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I like the Oral B satin tape myself. My teeth are so close together in the back that even the dentist struggles to get in between them and through trial and error, I have discovered the tape is the only thing thin enough to get down to the gums in between my teeth.
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