Let’s be honest. Flossing is not the world’s most popular dental hygiene activity. Brushing your teeth is quick and easy. Flossing is a process. You have to get the floss, pull out the floss, go between each tooth, change the floss along the way, and reach way back into your mouth to get between and behind the back teeth. It’s all a bit much and a bit awkward for many people. They simply choose not to floss, which is detrimental to the teeth and gums and even your overall health.
If you’re ready to try something different this year to improve your dental health, consider adopting one of the many flossing alternatives now available. Different tools make it much easier to get between each tooth!
Your flossing alternatives include:
- Flexible dental picks
- Dental flossers
- Water flossers
- Electric toothbrush flossing head
- Interdental brushes
Let’s look at how you can add one or more of these flossing alternatives to your daily brushing and flossing routine.
Disposable Floss Alternatives
Dental flossers and flexible or soft picks provide easy-to-use alternatives to regular floss. Instead of having to manage a string of floss, dental flossers provide an angled plastic piece that allows you to easily reach your back teeth. They can also be used when a caregiver has to floss another person’s teeth. Flossers are available in different styles. Some have disposable heads with a reusable handle. Others are disposable, one-piece “harps.” Some flossers include a fold-out dental pick, too. Explore your options at the pharmacy.
Soft picks come in a variety of styles that use rubber bristles to clean out the plaque and food between teeth. They also massage the gums, which make them a gentle option if your gums get sore from flossing thread. However, people with closely spaced teeth may find them less effective because they are designed to get into the spaces between teeth.
Reusable Flossing Tools
Flossing and dental hygiene technology has come a long way since the day of the wooden toothpick! You can follow the lead of your dental hygienist by using a metal dental pick for at-home cleaning between your teeth. Some caution is required when using one of these sharp metal tools, but many models can be washed in the dishwasher—a real convenience that ensures sanitary tools without creating plastic waste.
As for electric tools, the options now include electric toothbrushes, of course, and water flossers, which squirt high-pressure water in and around your teeth for a fresh feeling. Many electric toothbrushes offer a flossing head and flossing setting. The flossing head features a tuft or two of brush to gently spot clean between teeth and along the gumline. These electric flossing tools make the job of interdental cleaning a breeze! We highly recommend them for our patients, as they also time you for a full two minutes—the time it takes for fluoride to absorb into the enamel.
Finally, you can also choose interdental brushes to help clean your teeth. While not as effective as floss at getting between each tooth, these brushes feature a very small head with a few tufts of brush to massage gums and brush between and around teeth.
If you don’t like to floss with traditional floss, we hope that one of these convenient flossing alternatives will encourage you to clean between your teeth more often. Try one of them today, or ask us about them at your next dental appointment. Keep smiling!