We all know that flossing is recommended. A consistent and appropriate regimen of brushing and flossing helps to protect and preserve our teeth, but what most people don’t know is that there are a lot of different flossing mediums out there. Not all floss is the same and there are different reasons to use each kind in different circumstances.

What Does Floss Do for My Teeth?

Let’s start off with what flossing actually does. In the most simplistic of descriptions, it removes left over plaque and food debris from between the teeth. In addition to this, it also helps to allow the fluoride present in most toothpastes to breach the gap in between teeth. Beyond knowing that, you need to know what floss is good for what scenarios.

The Many Kinds of Floss

If you’ve ever gone and bought floss at the store, you’ve probably only noticed three main differences between the different products. The flavoring, the brand, and whether or not it’s a wand or a simple roll of floss. What you probably didn’t know was that floss has many different subcategories besides those. Here’s a profile for each kind. Keep in mind that most products often combine several of these different categories for their products.

Waxed Floss

Waxed floss is a monofilament floss that is coated in a nylon wax or polymer. The most notable positive to using waxed floss is that it doesn’t fray when it’s rubbed between the teeth and gums. This means that the floss is stronger and more consistent. However, waxed floss can occassionally cause floss cuts. It also has the potential to cut off circulation to your fingers due to wrapping the floss too tightly while using it. Besides that, it’s difficult to reach the teeth in the back of your mouth because of the way that it’s used.

Unwaxed Floss

Unwaxed floss is nearly the same as waxed floss. The only difference is that it’s not waxed and it is a multifilament string. Due to its lack of a coating, Unwaxed floss can fray when it’s used. Besides that, it has the same common drawbacks as waxed floss. It can cut the gums if you use it inappropriately and it can cut off circulation to your fingers if you wrap it too tightly.

Dental Tape

Dental tape is another type of floss and it’s a more unique product. It’s used the same way, but it’s much wider and flatter than traditional string floss. Due to its increased width and flatness, dental tape can cover more of a tooth’s surface area at once and provides a quicker and more efficient clean.


Superfloss is a braided floss that is exceptionally strong. It’s not typically used for people with natural teeth. However, if you have dentures or other dental work, superfloss can effectively get into the crevices of the hard polymer attachments used in artificial teeth or other dental prosthetics. The only downside when using superfloss effectively is that you must take care not to damage your dentures, bridges, or other dental work because the braided floss can become snagged.

Floss Wands

Besides the forms of floss listed above, you can also purchase floss wands. Floss wands can come in any flavor or type of floss, but they allow you to reach the teeth in the far back of your mouth by attaching a small flossing head onto a handle that is much like a toothbrush.

In Conclusion

Floss is a lot more complicated than simply the flavor and brand. If you want to get the most out of your floss, you have to consider your needs and make sure that the product you buy meets those needs as best as possible. For more information about the right type of floss for your teeth, contact the office of Dr. Larry Molenda, D.D.S., your San Marcos dentist.