Are you frustrated when using standard dental floss? Do you find long pieces of floss difficult to handle, especially when you’re reaching behind your back teeth? If so, you’ll be glad to learn that there are other ways to floss your teeth. A dental floss pick is a small plastic tool with a curved end that holds a piece of dental floss. And there’s a bonus—the other end of a floss pick features a small plastic pick that can be used instead of a wooden toothpick to remove large food particles that can get caught along the gum line or between the teeth.
Distinguish a floss pick from a water pick
Don't confuse a floss pick with a water pick. A water pick, also called a tooth irrigator or oral irrigator, aims a stream of water between your teeth. A water pick can help remove larger food particles from your teeth and stimulate your gums, and it can be a useful part of an oral care routine. But since it doesn’t actually clean the spaces between the teeth and along the gum line, it’s not a substitute for traditional tooth brushing or flossing with standard floss or another inter-dental product.
Using a flosser
A flosser may be the right product to meet your flossing needs. A flosser is, in simplest terms, a piece of dental floss on a handle. Some flossers have picks on one end, and may be labeled “floss picks”. Many types of flossers are available, and any of them will help promote oral health when you use them properly to clean between and around teeth. Which flosser you choose comes down to personal preference, but look for a model with a long handle for easier holding and a compact head that makes it easier to reach behind the back teeth—a particularly tricky spot to clean.
Some flossers are totally disposable and others have disposable, refillable heads. You can also buy flossers that have specially designed handles with no-slip grips to make them even easier to hold. Some flossers have an area that works as a tongue scraper, and others come in small sizes with child-friendly designs.
Want to go high-tech? You can choose a battery-powered flosser, which does double duty—it vibrates to massage your gums while cleaning around them.
Are you curious about electric flossers but worried about whether they are safe?
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry compared the safety and plaque-removing ability of an electric flosser and a standard dental floss. In this study, 78 people were assigned to use either a standard dental floss or an electric flosser. After 30 days of use, both groups had significantly less plaque on their teeth than before they began their daily flossing routines, and the electric flosser and the standard floss were equally effective at removing plaque. In addition, both flossing methods were found to be equally safe. No signs of trauma to the hard or soft tissues in the mouth were associated with using either product.
Since research shows that the electric flossers are as safe and effective as the standard floss, should you choose an electric flosser instead of one of the many types of standard floss? Many people can benefit from electric flossers, especially older adults who may have trouble manipulating floss with their fingers. Older children and teens may be more likely to use electric flossers than standard floss because they find them fun, especially if they like using electric toothbrushes.