Choose the Right Floss

Here is another part of our series on choosing the best home care products to look after your smile to keep it looking gleaming and white. Today we are focusing on dental floss. In many years as a dentist in Edinburgh, I have discovered that many people really do not like to floss. Now while learning to do this well is not easy starting with the right tools for the job will make a difference to your chances of success and keeping a healthy smile for life.

There are thousands of brands of floss out there to choose from some good some not so well and some are downright awful.

First tip, forget about floss and buy DENTAL TAPE. Floss is made of a round fiber which usually takes more force to get in between your teeth and is more likely to cause pain as it hits your gum ….. OUCH !! It also misses many bits that tape will get into.

If you have a heavily restored mouth with lots of fillings, then flossing is very important to you. In between the back teeth will never (yes NEVER) get cleaned without using tape or something similar. If you have fillings or crowns then there are even more potential places for bacteria to lurk. Think what would happen if you never washed between your toes.

Very smooth tapes that slip very easily between the teeth are easier to use but tend to spread the bacteria that we are trying to remove. So you do need a tape that has a bit of "grab" to it and this is why Waxed or Coated tape is better.

Waxed or Coated tape is also better because it shreds less and will be less likely to get stuck between your teeth.

Look, too for Monofilament tape, this means that instead of it shredding it will break cleanly if it hits a sharp edge on a filling or crown. This again avoids that horrible feeling of having a bit of last nights floss stuck in between your teeth the next morning!

If you are regularly getting dental tape stuck in just one or two areas, then let your dentist know as it can mean there is a problem.

Finally one last tip, wash your hands thoroughly after flossing as some of the mint flavored coatings can really sting if they get in your eyes. Do not ask how we know!


1. Buy TAPE not FLOSS
2. Look for WAXED or COATED tape
3. Change brand until you find one that does not shred
4. If all tapes shred in a specific area let the dentist know
5. Ask our hygienist for a demonstration of the Perfect flossing technique
6. If you are still having problems then maybe you need to try other methods of cleaning between your teeth …. more in a future issue.

As ever the information above is good for MOST people, for advice and assistance specific to your own situation, we always recommend that you seek professional advice from a suitably qualified person.

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