You may have heard all about it before, “You need to floss more”. Yes, flossing can be time consuming and awkward, but it does get easier with practice. While flossing with string floss or dental tape is the “gold standard” for keeping in between your teeth clean and your gums healthy there are alternatives out there to make this task easier and less frustrating.
So what alternatives to floss are there?
Flossers, Floss Holders and Flossettes:
When a patient comes to me with difficulties flossing the first things I typically recommend are flossers, floss holders or flossettes. These devices are similar to string floss, but provide patients with a handle or holding device to aid the floss between the teeth. With a handle, there is no longer a need to wind floss around your fingers; position your hands at awkward angles; or place your fingers far back in the mouth. The handle also provides for a better grip for the floss to get in between tighter contacts.
Flossettes are typically bought in packets of 20 to 100 and can be inexpensively found in most supermarkets and pharmacies. They can be either single use or used a number of times with rinsing in between uses.
Floss holders are similar to flossettes but patients must wind their own string floss around the holder. Along with a larger “handle” than most flossettes, some floss holders have the handle pointing in a direction that faces out of the mouth making them easier to maneuver and position.
Due to their ease of use, flossettes and flossers are great for introducing flossing to kids or for elderly patients who have more limited dexterity in their hands and fingers.