The Best ADA-Approved Dental Floss for Plaque Removal

There are two types of people: those who floss and those who should floss. Indeed, flossing is an important part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy, as well as brushing with fluoride toothpaste.

“A toothbrush removes plaque, but it primarily targets the front and back of the teeth,” Dr. Amr Mousi, president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and professor at the NYU College of Dentistry. “Flossing removes plaque between teeth and along the gum line that a toothbrush may not be able to reach.”

GO AHEAD Types of dental floss | When and how often to floss | Should children floss?

Plaque is a collection of things you don’t want sticking to your teeth: bacteria, food and other materials, according to Moursi. If left untreated, plaque can lead to problems such as gingivitis (i.e. early-onset gum disease) and even bad breath. Flossing regularly and properly helps avoid these problems, according to Dr. Edmond Hewlettprofessor at the UCLA School of Dentistry.

To get or keep flossing, we talked to dentists about how to buy floss — which comes in different flavors and varieties — and got tips on how to use it correctly. We’ve also rounded up flossing options with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, based on expert advice.

Best dental floss to buy in 2022

Experts we spoke to recommended choosing floss with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. According to ADA“A company earns the ADA Seal for dental floss or other interdental cleaners by producing scientific evidence demonstrating its product’s safety and effectiveness in reducing plaque and gingivitis.”

Beyond that, think about your teeth’s needs and which product you’ll find easiest to use. The bottom line is that flossing requires consistency — the best product is the one you’re going to use, Hewlett said.

Below are the flossers and flosser choices that have earned the ADA seal. All of the products below are designed to be single-use and disposable – the ADA does not recommend reusing dental floss or similar products.

Silk

REACH dental floss

You can buy this waxed floss unflavored or with a mint flavor. (Wax coated floss can make it easier to slide between teeth.) It comes in a 55 meter spool.

Tom’s of Maine Naturally Waxed Antiplaque Flat Yarn

Tom’s of Maine waxed flat floss — flat floss is wider and flatter than dental floss — is free of artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, depending on the brand. It is spearmint flavored and comes in a 32 yard spool.

Quip Rechargeable Dental Flosser

Quip’s dental floss comes in a reusable plastic or metal dispenser, with refill spools available online. (A spool lasts about three months, depending on the brand.) The thread is marked every 18 inches to show you where to tear off a piece, and it expands with use so you can tell which part of the string is fresh. while flossing.

Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Floss

Each Oral-B Pro-Health Waxed Floss Dispenser has 54.7 yards of floss and is available unflavored or mint flavored. Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Comfort Plus Floss has also earned the ADA seal.

CVS Health Waxed Mint Dental Floss

This 55 meter spool of dental floss SVC Health has a mint flavor, depending on the brand. Other varieties of CVS Health dental floss have also earned the ADA seal, including EaseBetween dental floss, waxed dental floss, unwaxed dental floss, waxed dental tape, and mint waxed dental tape (dental tape is similar to flat dental floss).

Choice of dental floss

Quip Rechargeable Dental Floss

Quip’s rechargeable flosser comes with a plastic or metal dispenser case that holds the pick and mint floss. The case also features a mirror for flossing on the go. You can rearm the pick each time you use it by pressing the “Q” button on its handle. According to Quip, a recyclable floss refill cartridge available online replaces more than 180 single-use plastic floss picks. Silk string also expands as you use it.

DenTek Triple Clean Floss Picks

DenTek Floss Picks have mouthwash flavored, fluoride infused floss strands. Picks are also designed with a ridge that can be used as a tongue scraper. They come in packs of 75, 90, or 150. Other varieties of DenTek floss picks have also received the ADA seal, including Complete Clean, Fresh Clean, and Comfort Clean floss picks.

DenTek Kids Fun Flosser Silk Pick

According to DenTek, its children’s floss picks are designed to fit child-sized teeth and hands, and have fruit-flavored, fluoride-coated floss. They come in packs of 90.

Why use dental floss?

“Floss removes plaque, that’s the bottom line,” Moursi said. Without regular care, plaque can build up; the longer it stays, the harder it is to remove. Eventually, plaque can turn into tartar, Moursi said. Calculus can only be removed by professional dental cleaning, according to the ADA — it can also lead to a host of problems, including gingivitis.

Fortunately, plaque buildup is easy to prevent with regular brushing and flossing, experts said.

Floss types and alternative options

Dental floss is considered the gold standard — it lasted the longest compared to other anti-plaque products, Hewlett said. Moursi also added that most research studies on flossing have been conducted with dental floss, so there is plenty of data showing its effectiveness. But dental floss is not unique, he noted. Since flossing is difficult for some, there are other effective tools like interdental cleaners. Below, we’ve broken down the differences between several different options.

Dental floss

When people think of dental floss, it’s usually the threaded variety that comes on a spool. But there’s also dental tape, which Hewlett described as a wider, flatter type of dental floss. He said it’s especially useful for people with larger spaces between their teeth because it covers more surface area.

Both forms of floss come in unflavored or flavored varieties, but choosing a flavored option has no impact on how well your teeth are cleaned, Hewlett said. Flossers are equally waxed and unwaxed — while a coating of wax can make it easier for floss to pass between teeth, Hewitt said, both waxed and unwaxed are equally effective when used correctly.

Choice of dental floss

Dental floss choices are just as effective as dental floss, experts said. Picks look like a wand and have a small piece of tang at the forked end, so you can grab the handle while using the tool. Experts say dental toothpicks are generally easy to use, especially if you’re flossing a child’s teeth.

Water Flossers

Water flossers are electrical devices that shoot pressurized water into the spaces between teeth, targeting debris to disrupt and remove plaque. Although there is evidence to support their ability to remove plaque, Moursi said that for water flossers to do their job, “you have to hold it in the right place, at the right angle, and for the right amount of time. time,” which can be difficult. Anyone can use water flossers, but experts say they’re most beneficial for people who have difficulty using floss or floss threaders, as well as for those who have certain dental work like braces, bridges and crowns.

Interdental brushes

Dental work like braces, bridges, and crowns can prevent floss from slipping between teeth, making flossing difficult. Interdental brushes – which look like little coil brushes – can get through spaces between teeth and under any dental work, allowing you to remove plaque.

The brushes have bristles on one end and a grip handle on the other. To use it, you point the brush at the gum line between your teeth and push it through, moving the bristles around the space to remove plaque, Hewlett said. Brushes come in different shapes and sizes to fit the spaces between your teeth.

When and how often to floss

Experts have recommended flossing — or using another plaque-busting tool — once a day. It’s not crucial what time you floss, but experts suggest flossing before bed. “The last thing that should touch your teeth before bed should be a toothbrush and dental floss,” Hewlett said.

Brushing your teeth before bed has several benefits. First, it allows you to remove any dirt that accumulates during the day. But also, when you sleep, your salivary flow — the body’s natural anti-plaque agent — is at its lowest point, according to Moursi. “Our defense is at its lowest, so when the plate sits there overnight, that’s when it can have its biggest impact,” he said.

Moursi also noted that you can floss before or after brushing your teeth.

Should children use dental floss?

Children’s gums aren’t as susceptible to plaque as adults’ gums, Moursi said. There is usually enough space between children’s teeth for the toothbrush bristles to penetrate and clean the sides of their teeth. (That’s one of the reasons why establishing a consistent toothbrushing routine is the most important thing for young children’s oral health, according to Moursi.) But when kids’ teething begins to have close contact, that’s when flossing becomes more critical — usually around age 10, Moursi says.

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