Floss picks are those tiny plastic devices that you can use to get those popcorn kernels or apple chunks out between your teeth.
We know that many people like to use these over regular floss. They’re less confusing and take less time to use. But when it comes to regular floss vs. floss picks, you should probably know that they don’t work the same.
Are floss picks really better than floss— or is it actually causing long-term damage to your oral health?
RELATED: IS WATERPIK BETTER THAN FLOSS?
How Often Should You Floss?
First, let’s talk about your flossing routine.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing once daily. Brushing your teeth removes the bacteria between your teeth and gums, while flossing helps remove debris trapped between your teeth.
We actually recommend flossing twice per teeth-brushing ritual. Here’s why.
However, some people need to floss more often than others. If you’re not having trouble with plaque buildup, you might need to floss every other day.
Floss vs. Floss Picks: Is it Better Than Regular Floss?
While flossing picks are convenient, they aren’t necessarily better than regular floss.
In fact, some dentists will agree that they actually make things worse because:
- They can cause damage to your gums (such as bleeding, receding gumlines, and cuts).
- Floss picks aren’t as effective as regular floss.
When you floss, you want to curve around your tooth in a ‘C’ shape where the tooth meets the gums. This isn’t as easy to do with rigid, plastic flossing picks. This means you might not remove as much plaque as you (and your dentist) would like.
However, studies have shown that more people prefer floss picks because they’re easier to use. So, if you’re looking for something different to help you get into the habit of flossing, consider using floss picks instead.
Which One Should You Choose?
If you’re having trouble getting into a daily flossing routine, start with flossing picks.
The takeaway here is that you should just be flossing— period. If you want to use floss picks vs. floss string, go for it! They’re actually really great at getting stubborn food out from the crevices (and the relief is fantastic)!
Once you get into good daily practice, slowly try to incorporate string floss into your routine. Start by adding string floss to your ritual at night (use the floss picks before brushing and the string floss after flossing). Then, you can choose to swap out the floss picks entirely for the more effective string floss— or use both!
Using both will actually improve your oral health. Use the string floss to get under the gums and the sides of your tooth, and use the floss picks to get the bigger, peskier food particles out.
Are there any side effects?
While flossing picks are generally safe, they can still cause issues.
For example, they can irritate your gums if you use them too much. The cheaper ones are also prone to shredding, which can leave floss debris in your teeth and cause more problems than it solves.
So, be gentle when you’re using them.
Floss Picks FAQ
Are floss picks reusable?
No! Use one and throw it away. Forever. Floss picks are disposable for a reason.
How many floss picks should I use?
You can use one per flossing session if you’ve done an adequate job of brushing your teeth. But if you notice a lot of plaque building up on that 1-inch of floss on your pick, you might want to use a new one.
Are floss picks good?
Are they good for your health if you just use floss picks? When it comes to floss vs. floss picks, you always want to find a way to use regular floss in your daily routine in addition to the flossing picks.
Do floss picks work?
Absolutely! Floss picks are best for getting rid of stubborn food particles that are stuck between your teeth. They also work for getting plaque out of your teeth, even if they don’t work as good as regular floss.
Basically, using a floss pick every day is better than not flossing at all?