Are Floss Picks Good? Pros and Cons for Dental Hygiene

Are Floss Picks Good? Pros and Cons for Dental Hygiene

Flaus Admin
12 minute read

Strutting into 2024 with a huge smile on our face is the goal we all want to achieve. But what if you want to work on your smile? We don’t believe in needing super white teeth or the straightest smile - but we are BIG fans of good oral hygiene. This might come as a surprise, but we know that 70% of Americans don’t floss regularly, and 30% never floss at all! So, when creating new habits, we've asked ourselves so many times: are floss picks good?

This new year, we’re all about starting and building healthy habits, so let’s discuss a helpful tool that could get us flossing: floss picks (or, the electric, vibrating, easier to use version of a floss pick: Flaus!). We know that people often wonder - are floss picks good? Do they help us reach our oral health goals or do they fall short? In our quest for pearly whites, we're breaking down the question - 'are floss picks good?' and should we use of floss picks, Flaus or traditional floss, to take care of our gums and keep bacteria at bay. This blog post will explore both the advantages and potential pitfalls of floss picks in maintaining dental hygiene, which should help you make an informed decision about your dental routine. Get ready to delve deep into the crevices of this topic, and come out the other side with a really happy dentist!

So… are floss picks good? Absolutely! Floss picks are a convenient and effective tool for maintaining oral hygiene. They offer an easy grip and pre-threaded floss, making it easier to clean between teeth. While traditional floss or dental tape allows for slightly better conformity to tooth shape and cleaning around the gumline, floss picks can still contribute to a healthy oral care routine. Remember to use them properly by reaching all areas of your mouth and complement their use with other dental hygiene practices like regular brushing.

Understanding Floss Picks

Floss picks, also known as flossers or dental picks, are small handheld devices designed to aid people in the process of flossing. They consist of a small plastic handle with a short piece of dental floss threaded between two prongs. Floss picks are widely available at most drugstores and can be an alternative to traditional flossing methods.

One distinctive feature of floss picks is their accessibility and ease of use. For individual adults who struggle with gripping or maneuvering regular floss, these picks can be a game-changer. The handle provides a comfortable grip, allowing for better control while reaching those harder-to-reach areas at the back of the mouth. So, are floss picks good at helping those who struggle with hand mobility - yes!

Another advantage of floss picks is their convenience. They come in compact packaging that is portable and easy to carry around, making them ideal for those on the go or traveling.

Now that we understand what floss picks are and their user-friendly design, let's explore some of the advantages they offer for dental hygiene.

Advantages of Floss Picks

One significant advantage of floss picks is their accessibility and comfort. Unlike traditional floss, which requires manual dexterity and technique to properly navigate between teeth and along the gums, floss picks provide an ergonomic handle that makes it easier to reach all areas of the mouth. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with limited hand mobility or coordination issues.

Furthermore, using floss picks may encourage individuals who are otherwise reluctant to regularly floss two to three times a day to incorporate this essential dental hygiene practice into their routine. The convenience and simplicity of floss picks make them more approachable for those who find traditional flossing tedious or time-consuming.

The prongs help keep the floss taut, preventing it from slipping or fraying during use. This can lead to a more efficient and effective flossing experience, ensuring that plaque and bacteria are adequately removed from between teeth and along the gumline. Having a dental appointment will ensure all areas are covered.

However, it is important to note that while floss picks offer certain advantages, they may not be as effective as traditional floss in certain situations. Floss picks can clean a part of the tooth's surface but cannot clean as effectively as traditional floss or dental tape. Traditional floss is recommended because it conforms better to the shape of the tooth. Wrapping traditional floss around the tooth helps clean the critical area around and below the gumline much better than a floss pick. Thus, patients who solely use floss picks may miss cleaning certain areas, leading to decay.

For example, if you have teeth that are very close together or have tight contacts between them, using regular floss might provide better results in removing plaque and debris. Being mindful of these factors is truly important when figuring out 'are floss picks good for you' and finding the best method for your oral hygiene routine. In order to tailor a flossing routine specifically to your needs, consulting with a dentist or dental hygienist can help assess your distinct requirements and determine which option is most effective for you, whether you're a patient with simple or more complex dental health needs.

Aside from exploring the various benefits of using floss picks, let's take a thumb-length detour and delve into some potential shortcomings and considerations that come with this handy dental care tool.

When it comes to dental hygiene, particularly for children, accessibility and comfort habitually take precedence. Floss picks, which can easily fit in a pocket or small hands, offer a convenient solution for individuals who struggle with traditional string flossing techniques such as maneuvering between tight spaces or reaching the back teeth. The handle of floss picks provides better grip and control, simplifying the task of reaching all corners of the mouth.

Accessibility and Comfort

Picture yourself on a road trip with a troubling piece of food lodged between your molars. In this scenario, a floss pick from your glove compartment or bag doesn't merely serve as a dental tool, but as a travel-friendly lifesaver that you can use to address the problem without having to rummage through your belongings for traditional floss.

Floss picks stand as an excellent option for adults who face dexterity issues or limited mobility, like those with arthritis or disabilities. The handle on the tool provides a better grip, allowing them to routinely and effectively clean their teeth without much trouble. If you are looking for a tool to help with limited mobility, Flaus offers a longer, ergonomic handle that allows you to control your flossing session even better than a floss pick.

Efficiency and convenience are becoming increasingly important in our fast-paced lives today. When we ask ourselves 'are floss picks good?', one noteworthy advantage of floss picks lies in the time-saving aspect they offer. Their pre-threaded design removes the necessity of manually measuring and cutting a piece of floss each time you need to floss, making the routine quicker and hassle-free.

Efficiency and Convenience

Envision yourself having just finished a delicious meal at a restaurant where traditional floss is not readily available. In this order of events, having a floss pick on hand saves you from the discomfort caused by lingering food particles, and simultaneously ensures that you maintain your oral hygiene.

One additional benefit of using floss picks is that it reduces the mess often associated with traditional flossing techniques. Traditional flossing can sometimes result in accidentally dropping string floss onto bathroom floors or countertops, but this risk is effectively eliminated when using floss picks.

However, while floss picks combine convenience and efficiency, they do carry some limitations compared to traditional floss. Let's navigate into these limitations a bit deeper.

Floss picks, while providing ease of use and convenience, do possess certain limitations that render traditional flossing methods a more preferred choice for many individuals. A key limitation lies in their inability to completely clean the surface of the tooth. They can't compete with traditional floss or dental tape when it comes to providing a thorough cleaning since they fall short in effectively cleaning around and below the gumline which is crucial to maintaining oral health.

  • According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Periodontology, regular flossing - whether with traditional string floss or floss picks - can lead to a significant reduction in bleeding and gingivitis.

  • The American Dental Association reports that up to 32% of Americans admit to never flossing, indicating the crucial need for any form of flossing tools such as floss picks, interdental brushes or traditional floss. So when we ask 'are floss picks good, the answer is 'if they get you flossing, then floss picks are good!'

The Electric Flosser

When speaking of floss picks, we’d be remiss not to mention the newest flossing option: an electric flosser! An electric flosser uses real dental floss and sonic vibrations to make flossing as quick, easy and comfortable as brushing your teeth.

Electric flossers, like Flaus, offer some expanded benefits than floss picks:

Efficiency and Convenience

  • Electric flossers have a motor that, when turned on, have sonic vibrations that provide a floss assist motion. Just like your electric toothbrush helps you brush more effectively, the sonic vibrations in an electric flosser help to stimulate gums and dislodge plaque. The sonic vibrations also help to get the floss between tight teeth.

  • Electric flossers, like Flaus, are reusable, meaning you only switch our the floss heads and you use the body each time you floss

  • Where floss picks don’t always allow for the ability to create a c-shape floss technique, some electric flossers, like Flaus, have additional slack in the floss and allow you to make a the c-shape while you floss

  • Flossing with an electric flosser can also save you time - it’s been shown that you can floss up to 5x faster with an electric flosser!

Accessibility and Comfort

  • Flaus offers an ergonomic handle that allows for greater control over your flossing session. For those with limited mobility, flossing can be an onerous task. The ergonomic, long handle on Flaus assists greatly with this. While a floss pick has a short handle, Flaus has a long handle, allowing easier access to back molars.

  • Where the body of a floss pick is made from plastic, Flaus is made from a soft touch silicone, allowing for a more premium experience.

Eco-Friendly Flossing

The sad truth about flossing is that it isn’t very eco-friendly. Traditional string floss is too small to be recycled properly and, in the best case scenario ends up in the landfill, and in the worst case scenario, ends up in the ocean with all of our sea friends.

Traditional floss picks are also small and are not recyclable - they too end up in the landfill.

Flaus, for example, uses 30% less plastic than floss picks and offers a Flaus Head Recycling Program where the floss heads are sent back to a dedicated oral care recycling facility. 

Limitations of Floss Picks

Employing floss picks is undeniably a better choice than not flossing at all. They prove an excellent and helpful alternative for those with limited dexterity or difficulties reaching certain areas of their mouths. 

Some research indicates that in the contest of efficacy between floss picks and traditional flossing methods, the latter comes out on top, effectively removing more plaque and debris from between the teeth and along the gum line. Having said that, this study found that manual floss picks are just as effective as standard string floss in cleaning capability when both products were used properly.   

Additional past studies on Electric Flossers, like Flaus, state they work just as effectively, if not better than traditional floss:

  • Study 1 - This study found that the electric flosser “was safe and effective in reducing approximal plaque and gingival inflammation, and provides a useful alternative device for interdental cleaning.”   

  • Study 2 – This study found that the electric flosser in combination with a manual toothbrush removed plaque significantly better than the toothbrush alone. Among floss types, there was evidence of superiority for the electric flosser.  

  • Study 3 – This study found that the electric flosser “removed significantly more interproximal plaque in molar, premolar, and anterior teeth compared to manual floss at days 15 and 30. There was no significant difference in interdental inflammation between groups."   

Making the Right Dental Hygiene Choices

Traditional flossing involves taking a segment of floss about 18 inches long, somewhat akin to a disposable toothpick in length, winding it around your fingers, and gently sliding it between your teeth in a C-shaped motion. This technique not only removes food particles but also helps dislodge plaque buildup, preventing gum disease and tooth decay. The treatment of spaces between orthodontic appliances can also benefit extensively from a thorough flossing regimen.

On the other hand, floss picks and electric flossers provide a convenient handle with pre-attached floss to simplify the process.

When we ask ourselves 'are floss picks good?', it's important to note that each individual has different dental needs and preferences. Some may find floss picks or electric flossers more comfortable or easier to use, while others may prefer the thoroughness of traditional flossing. Consulting with a dentist can help determine the most appropriate option based on your specific oral health situation.

Taking care of your dental hygiene is crucial for maintaining not only a healthy smile but also overall well-being. With various products and techniques available, it's essential to make informed choices to achieve optimal oral health. Understanding that floss picks and traditional flossing are two sides of the same coin can guide you in making the right dental hygiene choices.

Remember, maintaining good oral hygiene not only helps prevent cavities and gum disease but also contributes to your overall health. Dentistry is an important part of overall health management, so prioritize your dental hygiene choices and consult with your dentist for personalized advice on the most effective methods based on your unique dental circumstances.


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