Dental floss: Its types

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Unwaxed dental floss

Unwaxed dental floss can easily fray or tear if individual fillings are not properly completed. Their advantage is that they make a squeaky sound on a clean tooth. Ideal for checking dental care.

If you have already mastered the use of floss, unwaxed dental floss is recommended. This is made of nylon or a Goretex thread, for example. The thread frays easily. This increases the cleaning effect.
Some providers also impregnate their dental floss with fluorides or other active ingredients, sometimes even with aromas.

Waxed floss

Waxed floss reduces the risk of damaging the gums. However, the wax residue can remain between the teeth. However, re-cleaning removes the uncomfortable feeling.

Another variant of the dental floss is the so-called Superfloss: With its fluffy middle part, it is particularly suitable for cleaning fixed dentures and orthodontic braces
. Even children can use the handy Superfloss to care for the larger spaces between the teeth of milk teeth.

Floss is also available with various threading aids. These are particularly useful for care under fixed dentures such as bridges or very narrow interdental spaces. To do this, pull the reinforced end of the thread through the spaces and under the pontics.

Dental floss is currently made from two different materials:

  • Nylon (or multi-thread) floss
  • PTFF floss (polytetrafluoroethylene or Teflon – single thread)

Dental floss – where the toothbrush can’t go

Nylon floss is available in waxed and unwaxed forms and in a variety of flavors. Because this type of floss is made up of many nylon threads, it can sometimes fray or tear, especially in very tight spaces between your teeth. Single-thread PTFE dental floss slides easily between the teeth, even in tight spaces between the teeth, and is practically tear-resistant. When used correctly, both types of floss are great for removing plaque and food debris. Bulky floss (Superfloss) or interdental brushes are also available for wider interdental spaces.

Dental Floss

Use about 45 to 60 cm of floss, leaving an inch to 5 cm of floss between your fingers to work with.
Gently move the floss up and down 4 to 5 times on both teeth in each interdental space.
Be careful to slide under the gumline, but avoid damaging the floss to the gums.
There is now a wide range of products that also satisfy individual needs: thick and thin threads, aromatic floss, smooth and rough products.

Recommendations on the right dental floss

Unwaxed dental floss: Cheapest standard product. It squeaks on smooth and thus cleaned surfaces. Recommendable.

Waxed floss: Slides through teeth better. The wax coating makes handling easier. It is rather thicker than the unwaxed dental floss, with less cleaning effect. Recommendable.

Dental floss with Teflon coating: Glides easily through the narrow spaces between the teeth. Fibers less and is expensive. Recommended.

Floss with fluoride: The fluoride effect is low. Recommendable.

Dental floss with chlorhexidine: Chlorhexidine reduces bacterial infestation and could theoretically reduce inflammation. Higher price. The antimicrobial effect is low. Recommendable.

Floss with plastic holder: Makes handling much easier, but more rubbish. The thread may not be clamped tightly – then the cleaning effect is inadequate. Recommendable.

Super, extra, ultra… .. Floss (Floss = English expression for dental floss): The soft, frayed, wool-like thread has a larger surface and cleans a little better. Especially for fixed dentures (crowns, bridges, implants). Higher price, fixed-size pieces. The firmer threading part is followed by a fluffy nylon thread and then unwaxed floss. Ribbon floss The ribbon cleans better than thread floss. Here the thread becomes a narrow, thin ribbon (plastic). Recommended in special cases.

Floss holder more convenient and faster

Although floss is the best-known aid for cleaning interdental spaces, dental floss is only used regularly by around 1% of the German population, despite all the recommendations. The reason for this is certainly the – at least at first glance – cumbersome application. If it is not easy for you to stretch the floss between your fingers and guide it into the spaces between your teeth, you can also use a floss holder. These holders have become so small that you can put them in your pocket – better than a toothbrush.

Flossing hard-to-reach areas is very important and effective, but also very time-consuming. After all, the fully dentate jaw has thirty spaces between the teeth.
floss holders are a suitable means of making the use of floss easier. The use of dental floss with a holder is particularly easy in the posterior region. Thanks to the fork shape of the floss holder, you can comfortably reach the interdental spaces between the molars – with one hand.

There are floss holders for single-use and multiple-use holders in which dental floss is conventionally clamped. The disposable dental floss holder saves time but is expensive and produces more waste. If this ecological aspect is not so important to you, you can also use the floss holder while driving.

Floss daily why?

Only 70% of the tooth surfaces can be cleaned with the toothbrush
The basis of beautiful and healthy teeth is their daily care. But even the best toothbrush, used with the best possible brushing technique, does not reach the areas between your teeth: the bristles are too thick for that.

The interdental spaces make up 30 percent of the total tooth surface: They are the ideal hiding place for bacterial plaque. If it becomes stuck, the bacteria multiply, resulting in tooth decay and periodontal disease. Floss threading is the best way to clean interdental spaces. Because only the careful removal of the bacterial deposits with floss and toothbrush offers you or your child adequate protection against tooth decay and periodontitis. Daily use of dental floss is ideal.

Toothbrush and dental floss Successful as a team

Whether you floss in the morning or in the evening is of minor importance, but you should thread daily and before you brush your teeth. Then the active ingredients contained in the toothpaste can develop their effect directly on all tooth surfaces.

While in other countries the use of floss is a matter of course for daily oral hygiene, it is apparently rather unknown among Germans. Hardly any other oral hygiene aid is so well suited for removing food residues and plaque in the spaces between the teeth. The aim is to remove the plaque between the teeth (lat. Interdental ). A toothbrush is not very effective in brushing between the teeth. The bristles of the toothbrush only partially reach the spaces between the teeth.

The toothbrush is very effective on the outer surfaces of the teeth, as the bristles hit the tooth surface perpendicularly (45 degrees with some brushing techniques). In the interdental spaces, however, the bristles only brush across the tooth parallel to the surface (tangentially). This mechanical force is not enough to remove the plaque.

In the interdental spaces, the neighboring teeth touch at the contact points. Directly below these points of contact are the places where tooth decay occurs most frequently. These areas are difficult to clean with a toothbrush.

Floss handling

In order to be able to bring the cleaning thread between the teeth to the gumline, the narrow space at the top of the teeth has to be overcome. It is best to carefully place a 40-centimeter long thread between two teeth and move it back and forth a few times with little pressure in order to work gently into the space between the teeth. Then, with the same movement, the floss can be carefully guided under the gums and this space cleaned. The dental floss is wrapped around the tooth in a C-shape. The tooth is carefully cleaned with a few up and down movements to just below the gum line.

The use of dental floss can only be effectively practiced from the age of 10. In children, the use of floss between the fourth and fifth milk tooth by the parents makes a lot of sense, because here tooth decay often occurs.

The use of dental floss is recommended until old age, even crowned teeth should be cleaned with floss. The focus is then on the crown margins, which are often particularly prone to the formation of dental plaque. Often bleeding gums occur when using dental floss. A common reason is inflammation of the gums, which is practically always present. This inflammation will quickly improve with regular flossing. If this is not the case, be sure to visit the dentist. He can determine whether there is already inflammation of the gums (periodontitis) and carry out the appropriate treatment.

Practice creates masters

Initially, there are a few rules to follow when using dental floss to avoid injuries to the gums. Has the correct technique demonstrated in your dental practice? You will be surprised how quickly threading becomes a routine.

Floss can help prevent stroke

2011- Japanese scientists found in a study by Hiroshima University that regular flossing can send the risk of stroke. Probably periodontitis can be stopped by flossing and thus the risk of stroke can be reduced.


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