I think we can all agree that flossing is essential for good oral health – and I hope that everyone reading this plans to floss their teeth at least once today! However, it’s also a fact that many people struggle to floss as often as they should. If you find dental floss frustrating to handle and maneuver around your teeth, you might be looking into floss picks.
A floss pick is a specially designed, D-shaped piece of plastic with a handle that contains a short, taut piece of floss stretched between two posts. Instead of wrapping a long piece of floss around your fingers, a floss pick allows you to slide a single piece of floss between your teeth using the plastic tool. While you can’t deny the convenience of floss picks, you might wonder about their health benefits. Are they as safe and effective as regular dental floss?
Flossing may be tedious and somewhat unpleasant, but it plays a vitally important role in your oral health routine. Floss removes plaque (a sticky film containing bacteria and saliva) from your teeth, preventing the development of tartar and periodontal disease. Because periodontal disease is linked to other health problems, like heart disease and respiratory issues, flossing also benefits your overall health. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it’s important to floss at least once a day using the proper technique.
But are floss picks a viable alternative if you dislike using traditional dental floss?
How Do Floss Picks Compare to Traditional Floss?
The great benefit of floss picks is that they’re easier to hold, especially for people who have arthritis or dexterity problems. They also don’t require the user to frequently wind and unwind sections of floss, and they may be easier to maneuver when flossing teeth in the back of the mouth. That said, flossing picks do present some disadvantages:
- They redistribute bacteria and food particles. Because you’re using the same small segment of floss throughout your entire mouth, you’re constantly moving bacteria between the teeth with your floss pick.
- Some people find them difficult to use. If your teeth are tightly packed together, you might struggle to maneuver floss between them with a floss pick. This may also lead to fraying.
- They may prevent proper flossing technique. A floss pick’s segment of floss is fixed in a certain position, which can make it difficult to fully clean around each tooth and below the gum line. It cannot be curved into the recommended “C” shape and steered into tight spaces. Traditional floss, on the other hand, can be curved into a variety of angles.
While dental picks are certainly better than nothing, most dental health professionals agree that traditional floss is the best choice for daily flossing. It prevents the redistribution of bacteria because you’re constantly using a fresh, clean segment of floss. It’s also more effective at bending into the recommended “C” shape to clean around teeth and below the gum line.
However, if you despise flossing or find it difficult to floss your back teeth with traditional floss, go ahead and use floss picks from time to time. It’s better than not flossing at all. In addition, floss picks are very handy when you’re on the go, so consider sticking a few in your wallet or purse. Many people like to use the tip of the handle as a toothpick.
So, are floss picks a viable alternative to traditional floss? While they’re okay for occasional use, floss picks are not ideal for your everyday oral hygiene routine.
If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!