Flossing is an important step in any oral care routine. In fact, experts estimate that when you skip flossing, you’re missing a huge part of what keeps your mouth clean—about 40% of it .
The good news is that flossing doesn’t have to be a huge chore. There are many flossing aids available that can make flossing easier and maybe even a little more fun. So what are the most popular flossing aids, and what are they best for?
A water flosser is a device that allows you to aim a stream of pressurized water at your gumline to remove plaque. Research shows that water flossers are more effective than string floss in removing plaque, making it beneficial for those with a history of gum disease . In addition, water flossers may be easier to use and more effective for people with dexterity challenges or those with orthodontia.
A floss threader is a thin, flexible piece of plastic that has a large hole at one end. With a floss threader, you tie the floss on the loop, then use the threader to thread floss underneath bridges, braces, or denture bars. Floss threaders are helpful aids that can make flossing with a permanent or attached dental restoration easier.
Best for: Floss threaders can be particularly helpful for people with braces, dental bridges, or a permanent denture bar.
An air flosser is a type of electric flosser, like a water flosser. Also similar to a water flosser, it uses pressure to help remove plaque from teeth, except instead of using water, it uses air.
Air flossers don’t require a water reservoir like water flossers, which makes them easier to store, use, and travel with. Although research shows air flossers are not as effective as water flossers, they are generally the simplest type of floss to use .
Best for: Air flossers are best for people with limited dexterity, braces, dental implants, and bridges.
A flossing pick is a small plastic tool with a U-shaped end holding a piece of floss. The other end of this tool is generally sharp, like a toothpick, for picking food out of the teeth.
Flossing picks are easy to use, which makes them popular for people who have arthritis or for those who find flossing challenging. However, floss picks aren’t easy to conform to the round shape of teeth, so it’s easier to miss spots when flossing.
In addition, floss picks use the same string of floss for the entire mouth, which isn’t recommended, as it can transfer plaque from one area to another.
Best for: People with arthritis or those who wouldn’t otherwise use floss.
Which Floss Is Best for You?
With traditional string floss and water flossers being the winners, it doesn’t really matter what floss you use as long as you are flossing. Ask your dentist about different flossing aids and which would benefit you most based on your unique smile!