Cosmetic Surgery Tips

How Much Is A Dental Floss

Standard dental floss is a crucial tool in maintaining good oral hygiene. It effectively cleans the tight spaces between teeth and removes plaque, which is a sticky substance that can build up in areas where a toothbrush cannot reach. By removing plaque, dental floss can help reduce bleeding and prevent gum disease.The quality of dental floss plays a significant role in its effectiveness. Some dental floss products use several different types of fibers woven together, while others utilize high-quality fibers. The use of high-quality materials tends to cost more than lower quality alternatives. However, the investment in using high-quality materials pays off in terms of improved cleaning and reduced risk of oral health issues.When it comes to oral health, investing in high-quality dental floss is worth the cost. High-quality dental floss provides superior cleaning and helps maintain healthy gums and teeth. While it may be more expensive than standard floss, the benefits it offers in terms of oral health make it a worthwhile investment.

woman flossing

How Much Is A Dental Floss

You probably don’t floss your teeth as often as your dentist recommends. (Once a day keeps the plaque away, according to the American Dental Association.) But when you do clean between your pearly whites, do you use the 99-cent spool from the drugstore, or the $10 roll from a subscription box?

If you’re just now learning about the existence of luxury dental floss, that’s likely because interdental concoctions – from fruit-scented fibers doused with coconut oil to vegan, gluten-free bamboo floss – are relatively new to the roughly $5 billion annual oral health market in the United States. 

Cocofloss says its floss products — which cost $10 per spool — work better than conventional floss.

High-end flosses are trendy, says Marion Manski, director of the Division of Dental Hygiene at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, in Richmond. But do these products do a better job of removing the yuck between your teeth? 

“I’m glad these products are out there for patients to choose. It may be their preference, and it’ll be the trick that works for them,” she says. “But I always am very wary of what the claims are.”

Manski has sampled more than a few flosses in her nearly 40 years as a dental hygienist. She says the mass-market varieties generally remove bacterial plaque just as well as boutique brands.

“Patients need to be savvy in their decision-making,” she says. “They have to really do their research to make sure [the floss] is doing what it says it does.”

The Allure of Luxury Floss

In Manski’s experience, most patients avoid flossing because they don’t want their fingers in their mouth. Other people may claim to be too busy to spare the extra few minutes a day. 

Broadly, only about a third of U.S. adults ages 30 and older floss daily, suggests a 2018 study published in the Journal of Periodontology. Women were more likely to floss daily – 37%, compared to 26% of men.

When Chrystle Cu, DDS, opened her dental practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, getting patients to floss was like, well, pulling teeth.

“I became totally obsessed with flossing specifically, because flossing reaches an area that toothbrushes can’t,” she says. “People are getting cavities in between their teeth all the time, and flossing could’ve prevented it.”

Cu found existing flosses flat, slippery, and not good at removing sticky biofilm. She also couldn’t find any inspiring products. So, she made her own.

If nothing else, a visit to the Cocofloss website is a tropical vacation for the eyes. A palette of Caribbean blues and peachy pinks greets shoppers in the market for banana daiquiri- and confetti cake-scented floss. The company Cu launched with her sister, artist Cat Cu, aims to transport those relaxing vibes to the flossing experience.

As its name suggests, Cocofloss is made with coconut oil. The floss is circular and textured, which Cu says makes it better than drugstore varieties that may slide over plaque without removing the tacky buildup. 

“You can see the plaque coming off your teeth, and so it’s very rewarding. It helps motivate you to want to do it more,” Cu says. “It’s disgusting, but it feels good.”

The advertised oral escape comes at a steep cost: a 33-yard spool is $10. Cocofloss has plenty of competitors in the clean beauty sphere, such as DrTung’s Smart Floss, made of expandable fibers coated in vegetable and beeswax. A pair of 30-yard spools cost $9.84. Zero Waste Floss, 33 yards of charcoal-infused bamboo from EcoRoots, is $9.99.

Meanwhile, Walmart sells a 55-yard pack of Reach Mint Waxed Floss for 97 cents. CVS offers a 40-meter roll (about 44 yards) of Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Comfort Plus Floss for $5.59. Other options include floss picks, which Manski says work in a pinch, and water flossers, which can  cost more than $100.

Each brand boasts its supposed advantage over others, but Manski has seen little scientific evidence that certain floss types can lead to a cleaner mouth. 

A study published last February in the journal Materials supports that view: “In spite of the fact that dental floss nowadays comes in a variety of materials, including silk, nylon, and PTFE [polytetrafluoroethylene] with or without wax, little is known about its physical properties, tensile strength, and structural and morphological characteristics,” the authors concluded. 

Ask Your Dental Hygienist for Flossing Help

Can you remember life before brushing your teeth? The act has been so ingrained in our daily routines since early childhood that it almost seems an evolutionary trait. But we’re not born knowing how to brush properly.

Whether a toothbrush is fashioned from cheap plastic or is an expensive sonic model, the tool is only as good as the user, says Martha McComas, interim associate director of dental hygiene at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in Ann Arbor.

“You could use an electric toothbrush the completely wrong way, and it’s not going to be effective. It’s the same with the floss,” she says. “If you’re not cleaning that interdental space – the space that’s between the tooth and the gum that you can see – then it’s really not effective.”

While the idea of asking your dental hygienist to show you how to floss correctly – something you thought you’d known for decades – might be embarrassing, don’t worry, McComas says. They can not only assess your flossing technique but also determine whether your preferred brand of floss is right for you.SLIDESHOW

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The bottom line: No one-size-fits-all floss exists. The best type for you  depends on things like the width between your teeth, whether you have hardware, and whether you wear braces, McComas says,

For example, if your teeth are tightly packed together, a round, unwaxed floss is your best bet, she says. If you have fillings or crowns, stay away from woven flosses, which can shred and get stuck. Dental tape – wide, flat floss – might work well for some smiles but be too thin for others.

Manski and McComas stress that the greatest floss is the kind you’ll use daily.

“Would you go 5 days without brushing your teeth? No, of course not,” Manski says. “It has to be the same with floss.”

Which is the best dental floss?

Best Flosses

A consistent brushing and flossing routine is essential to maintaining good dental hygiene. Casey Lau, DDS, co-founder and chief dental officer of sustainable oral company ELIMS, explains that the true purpose of flossing is to remove the physical debris that collects between the teeth. This debris, she says, “forms colonies of bacteria called plaque and tartar, [which] need to be broken up so that the bacteria doesn’t have a chance to . . . cause cavities or inflammation and infection of the gums.”

Since “enough of the population flosses to begin with,” Dr. Lau says that most dentists will tell you any floss is better than no floss. But she says the best ones “remove the most plaque and debris from your teeth [before it hardens].” This usually means choosing a floss that’s a bit thicker but doesn’t shred, has some kind of scrubby texture to it, and is coated with a light wax that helps to break up those bacterial colonies, adds Dr. Lau. We researched dozens of flosses and reviewed them based on their material, flavor, type, and price.

Best Overall

Cocofloss Coconut-Oil Infused Woven Dental Floss

4.8

Cocofloss Coconut-Oil Infused Woven Dental Floss

Pros

  • Thick and grips well
  • Vegan, chemical-free
  • Mild flavor

Cons

  • Expensive

It might look a little gimmicky, but the brightly-colored, attention-grabbing Cocofloss is our top pick because it was created by a dentist who knew people needed something a little flashy in order to commit to the healthy routine of daily flossing. Chrystle Cu, DDS, invented Cocofloss—a chemical-free floss infused with coconut oil and made of more than 500 grippy, plaque-busting fibers for a deeply effective yet soothing clean.

We’ll admit that Cocofloss is a bit pricier than some other options on our list, but you can shop creatively: according to Cocofloss, one of their spools will last a regular flosser about two months, and the Cocofloss website offers a subscribe-and-save option for fans who want to build their own box of flavors and watch them show up in their mailbox on a predetermined schedule.

Price at time of publication: $25 (Pack of 3)

Material: Plastic | Usage: General; use once or twice daily | Flavor: Assorted fruits

Best for Preventing Cavities

RIsewell Scrubby Teflon-Free Floss

Risewell-scrubby-teflon-free-floss

Urbanoutfitters

Pros

  • Hydroxyapatite-infused for enamel protection
  • Chemical-free
  • Expanding

Cons

  • Limited retailers

According to Dr. Lau, people with sensitive teeth may want to choose a floss containing ingredients that remineralize teeth and fight tooth decay. You’ll find these in toothpastes for sure, but it can be helpful to “have a floss that delivers these [ingredients] to the spaces that people typically get cavities,” he explains. 

He recommends a floss with fluoride or a calcium phosphate, and this expandable floss by RiseWell is one of the only ones to fit the bill: with hydroxyapatite, a calcium phosphate mineral, built into the fibers, RiseWell’s floss is an effective cleaner, fitting smoothly in between your teeth and then expanding to scrub away gunk (and protect your enamel in the process).

Price at time of publication: $8

Material: Not specified | Usage: General; use once or twice daily | Flavor: Spearmint

Best Tasting

Dr. Tung’s Smart Floss

Pros

  • Mild but refreshing cardamom flavor
  • Plant-based coating
  • Soft and stretchy

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not good for people with tight spaces

Spearmint and bubblegum aren’t the only flavors available when it comes to dental product taste. We chose the Smart Floss by Dr. Tung’s as our pick for best-tasting floss: there’s no overpowering flavor here, only a light, refreshing burst of cardamom (which, if you don’t know, tastes vaguely herbal, like a blend of citrus and eucalyptus). 

An out-of-the-box flavor isn’t the only cool thing about this floss; it’s made with soft, silky fibers and coated with beeswax, allowing it to slip easily between your teeth and then expand as it gets to work on all the plaque lurking in there. It’s only slightly more expensive per pack than other popular drugstore brands, so it’s worth a try if you’re tired of harsh flavors in your dental products.

Price at time of publication: $25 (Pack of 6)

Material: Polyester | Usage: General; use once or twice daily | Flavor: Cardamom

Best Picks

DenTek Triple Clean Floss Picks

4.8

Dentek-triple-clean-floss-picks

Pros

  • Three-in-one cleaner
  • Affordable
  • No-break guarantee

Cons

  • Not environmentally friendly

A dental pick probably isn’t most people’s first choice for flossing, but sometimes it’s the only thing that gets the job done. If you’re a kid learning how to brush and floss for the first time, an adult who likes to floss on the go, or an elderly adult having trouble manipulating string floss because of arthritis or neuropathy, dental picks can be a helpful solution.

If a dental pick is the best option for you, we recommend the DenTek Triple Clean Advanced picks, which not only do all the usual flossing work but also feature a micro-textured pointed end for detailed cleaning and a tongue scraper for the freshest possible breath around. The floss itself is made of 200-plus fibers designed not to shred or break, and it is thin enough to fit between tight teeth.

Price at time of publication: $6

Material: Unspecified | Usage: General; use once or twice daily; press down with flossing string between teeth and floss as usual; if desired, use pointed end to deep clean and turn pick on its side to use as tongue scraper | Flavor: Mint

Best for Braces

Oral-B Super Floss Pre-Cut Strands

Oral-b-super-floss-pre-cut-strands

Pros

  • Easy-to-use precut strands
  • Stiff end for cleaning awkward spots
  • Spongy floss for wider cleaning

Cons

  • Costly for amount received

As if having braces isn’t annoying enough, you don’t get a free pass from flossing for however many years you’ve got them on—in fact, it’s more important than ever that you keep your teeth and your oral appliances clean, since no one wants to be left with discolored spots on their teeth when they do finally get their braces off.

That doesn’t mean flossing with braces is easy, though, so we like the Oral-B Super Floss Pre-Cut Strands for simplifying the whole process. Grab a string and use it like a regular piece of dental floss, in between your teeth, around appliances, and under the gum line. The strands are smooth and spongy, helping to gently but effectively remove debris from your teeth, plus they even have a stiffened end for getting into those tight, awkward corners and easily threading through and around wires, bands, and brackets.

Price at time of publication: $10 (Pack of 2)

Material: Unspecified | Usage: For braces; use once or twice daily; insert stiffened end between teeth or around oral appliances, then thread string/floss as usual | Flavor: Mint

Final Verdict

We recommend Cocofloss Coconut-Oil Infused Woven Dental Floss. It’s shred-resistant and woven with more than 500 fibers to move debris between your teeth, plus it slides in smoothly, is gentle on gums, and has a mild flavor.

If you have braces, we suggest trying the Oral-B Super Floss Pre-Cut Strands. They dispense easily, fit in and around oral appliances and under the gum line, and come fitted with one stiff end for those stubborn spots that need a little extra attention.

How We Selected the Floss

To find the best dental flosses, we asked two dentists to tell us what to look for and avoid when choosing the right kind for you. While both dentists agreed that any floss is better than no floss, they strongly suggested looking for shred-resistant flosses with thicker, more woven textures versus the flat, gliding kinds that feel good but don’t have much scrubbing power. They also recommended steering clear of flosses containing chemicals like polyfluoroalkyls and, if you have sensitive teeth or are cavity-prone, looking for a floss with fluoride or other enamel-protective ingredients.

With those notes in mind, we scoured the internet for crowd-favorite dental flosses, considering more than two dozen products. We looked for thick, easy-to-use flosses, flosses designed to expand and optimize their scrubbing power, and flosses made with natural or cavity-fighting ingredients. We also included a few traditional floss alternatives, like picks and strands, for people with braces or dental appliances.

The experts we talked to included:

  • Casey Lau, DDS, co-founder and chief dental officer of sustainable oral company ELIMS
  • Daniel Reich, DMD, director of Periodontics at Touro College of Dental Medicine

What to Look for in a Floss

Texture

Should you opt for a smooth, thin floss that glides easily between your teeth or one that’s a little rougher, made of woven fibers? Most dentists don’t care as long as you’re using some kind of floss, but if you’re really going for the flossing gold here, there is a difference between the smooth and rough kinds of floss.

“The floss that is probably the most widely used is made of teflon-coated shred-resistant polymer fibers, [and] when you have tight contacts between your teeth, this is probably the most comfortable floss to use,” says Dr. Lau. 

But comfort doesn’t necessarily equal effective, Dr. Lau adds: “I personally think that floss is too smooth to truly scrub your teeth; you wouldn’t clean your pots and pans with a smooth, satiny cloth, you [would] use the scrubby side of your sponge.”

If your teeth can handle it, choose a textured, thicker floss with a wax coating, per Dr. Lau’s recommendations: smooth floss will leave a lot of plaque behind, he says, even in avid flossers, but textured floss grabs onto enough plaque to really clean your teeth.

Ease of Use

You’ll have to consider your own oral circumstances when choosing a floss—like if you have braces, or wide gaps between your teeth—as well as your manual dexterity. 

“I recommend patients use floss that is most suited to their situation,” says Daniel Reich, DMD, director of Periodontics at Touro College of Dental Medicine. “If a patient has crowding or tight contacts between their teeth, they should use a thinner floss; if [they have] larger spaces, then dental tape may be a better choice.”

People with braces and people who struggle to manipulate string floss may find it easier to use a pick or even a water flosser to be sure they’re getting easily into all the nooks and crannies between their teeth.

Chemical-Free

Some extra-smooth, shred-resistant floss is made with a type of chemical called polyfluoroalkyls, or PFAs; the same kinds often used in non-stick Teflon coatings, which certainly make the floss glide seamlessly through your teeth. But are they safe?

Dr. Lau cites a 2019 study in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology that raised concerns about the presence of PFAs in some types of dental floss, since these substances have been linked to some cancers.1 At the same time, the American Dental Association (ADA) questioned the results of that study, pushing back on the idea that PFAs in dental floss could be harmful.2

Whichever side you take in the PFAs debate, know that you have a lot of choices when it comes to picking a floss—and it’s easy to play it safe.

“There are so many options for floss out there, and most do not contain any PFAs,” says Dr. Lau. “Take a look at what goes into [these] products, but I think if you stick to a waxed, textured floss, you will probably avoid these controversial chemicals and [still] get the true desired effect of scrubbing your teeth.”

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