Flossing is the best way to ensure healthy gums and teeth. Whereas brushing only cleans the visible surface of the teeth dental floss gets into those places between the teeth and under the gums where food can get lodged and fester, causing long term damage and leading to expensive remediation work later in life. Flossing greatly reduces the amount of plaque on the teeth, helps prevent tooth decay and can stave off painful and damaging gum diseases. Below are the 9 best dental flosses on the market today.
The Best Dental Floss
Listerine’s Gentle Gum Care Interdental Floss was formerly known as “Reach” and is a slightly different take on standard dental floss. By that we mean it’s woven in order to provide a softer, less abrasive cleaning surface for those with sensitive gums and teeth. They may have changed names to avoid confusion with the “Reach Dentotape” profiled above. But whatever the reason the product remains a worthy one for those who find flossing uncomfortable. Although woven floss is typically a bit thicker than standard floss a lot of people are going to find GGCIF a step up, due mostly to the comfort factor.
- Weight0.96 ounces
Reach Dentotape is thicker and wider than the average dental floss. As such it’s not as prone to breaking under pressure as standard floss is. In addition, the wider surface typically means more thorough cleaning with fewer food particles left behind. If you were never a fan of flavored dental floss Reach Dentotape hears you and the lack of artificial flavoring here is welcome change. For most people Reach Dentotape will provide a level of clean they may not be accustomed to; which is really what you want if you’re going to change the type of floss you use. Be sure to also check out our list of the best mouthwashes for more great items like this.
- Weight1.44 ounces
Glide from Oral-B is a very popular brand of dental floss for a good reason: it works. Glide is lightly waxed to allow it to, you guessed it, glide between the teeth without getting hung up or otherwise causing distress. Since you are better able to reach all areas without discomfort chances are you’ll achieve a higher level of clean, and that’s what it’s all about. Glide resists shredding for the most part and will effectively clean even the tightest spaces between teeth. Glide is typically easy on the gums and the cool mint flavor is discrete.
- BrandOral B
- Weight1.76 ounces
Speaking of Oral-B dental floss… We stay with the company for this entry; their Pro-Health Threader Floss designed specifically for people with braces, bridges and implants. Pro-Health Threader Floss actually uses the company’s Glide floss but adds the threader component people with implants, bridges and braces may need to access hard to reach places. Unlike some threader products the Oral-B Pro Health Threader comes ready to use. Save time, trouble and your dental work with this handy and effective flossing product from Oral-B.
- BrandOral B
- Weight0.8 ounces
Dr Tung’s Smart Floss with Natural Cardamom Flavor does a pretty solid job painlessly scouring the spaces between teeth and under the gums. If features a light coating of natural beeswax that allows it to slip easily into those hard to reach places. In addition, although it’s woven and a tad thicker than your average floss, the only difference you’re likely to notice is that Dr Tung’s doesn’t punish your gums the way standard string floss sometimes can. Woven floss like this also tends to expand a bit when you apply pressure which allows it to reach into areas that might otherwise be missed.
- BrandDr. Tung’s
- Weight6.1 ounces
Radius promote their Vegan Xylitol floss as being soft as a sponge. While it may come up just a bit short in that regard it is nonetheless very comfortable and does a remarkably good job leaving your teeth and gums feeling thoroughly cared for. There are no artificial sweeteners, coloring, parabens or even beeswax in use here. Radius instead turns to candelilla plant wax for comfort and xylitol to combat bacteria and provide flavor. The result is a floss that can proudly claim to be 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
- Weight0.64 ounces
Plackers Micro Mint Dental Flossers are standard C-type flossers that do a bang up job cleaning between your teeth and under your gums without breaking or shredding. If twisting floss around your fingers has never appealed to you or seems wasteful you owe it to yourself to try these ultra-convenient pre-made flossing devices. They save time and effort and do a good job accessing awkward places with ease. In addition there’s a tartar pick that allows you to extricate larger debris before you begin flossing in earnest. That tartar pick also folds away nice and tidy when you’re done with it so you don’t poke your hand while flossing.
- Weight9.6 ounces
Sunstar GUM Expanding Dental Floss helps you achieve a higher level of clean in larger spaces between and around teeth while also flattening out in narrower areas to provide more comprehensive cleaning with no additional effort. Over time large gaps tend to open up between teeth due to receding gums or periodontitis. With GUM Expanding Dental Floss you’re able to thoroughly clean these larger gaps to prevent them from becoming a breeding ground for future problems. While Sunstar Expanding Dental Floss is designed specifically for people with larger gaps between their teeth, most people will find it does a great job regardless of how tightly or loosely spaced their teeth are.
- Weight1.06 ounces
The last item on our list of Best Dental Flosses is the Antiplaque Flat Floss from Tom’s of Maine. This Antiplaque Flat Floss uses carnauba wax, jojoba wax, myrrha resin extract and other natural ingredients to provide a nice, easy motion even between the most tightly spaced teeth. There are no artificial additives or chemicals involved in the production of this floss and your teeth will end up feeling clean and refreshed. Those who buy Tom’s products because they’re a small “mom and pop” company may want to note that in 2006 Tom sold 84% of the company to the multinational conglomerate Colgate-Palmolive for $100,000,000. Make of that what you will.
- BrandTom’s of Maine
- Weight0.8 ounces
How to Use Dental Floss to Achieve Healthy Teeth
While flossing isn’t brain surgery it is nonetheless possible to make mistakes while flossing that could lead to discomfort or ineffective cleaning. Make sure you take the following tips to heart to ensure you get the most out of the flossing process.
- Wash your hands - Flossing requires you to put your hands in your mouth so make sure they’re clean before you do so. Once your hands are nice and clean your flossing can commence.
There are several essential steps to effective flossing:
- Wind the Floss Around Your Fingers - Wind a bit of floss around the middle fingers of each hand. On one of the middle fingers (your choice) wind 18 inches of floss and on the other just a small amount. Why so much? Because you’re going to gradually feed the floss from one finger to the other as you proceed in order to make sure you’re using clean floss on each tooth. Now pinch the floss between the thumb and index fingers of each hand leaving about 1 inch between them.
- Guide the Floss - As you clean use your index fingers to guide the floss around the teeth, up into the gums and into hard to reach places. Use a zig-zag motion and try not to allow the floss to snap when being removed from between teeth. Make sure to wrap the floss around the tooth rather than simply making a straight line with it. With practice you’ll ultimately be able to achieve a high degree of control.
- Be Thorough - Don’t overlook the back side of each tooth as tooth decay can start anywhere. As you move from one tooth to the next make sure to unroll clean floss from one hand and roll the used floss up around the middle finger of the other hand. If you just keep using the same 1 inch section over and over you’ll just be moving debris and bacteria from one tooth to the next.
Using a C-Shaped Flosser
While some believe the C-shaped flossing pick will not get your teeth as clean as standard floss others state any deficiency is typically a matter of poor form. To avoid an incomplete result make sure you have a firm grasp on the flosser and position the flossing tip so that it’s pointing at the area to be flossed first. Also, as with standard floss make sure you don’t put so much pressure on the floss that it snaps or pops out from between the teeth. The most important thing is to work the surface of the tooth with the floss (or water floss) to ensure you’ve covered everything.