Should you use a floss brush?

Daily flossing removes bacteria and food particles from between your teeth where your toothbrush can't reach. If they remain, they can form plaque, which can form cavities and cause bad breath and gingivitis. Commonly made of flexible plastic or nylon filaments, regular dental floss can certainly do the trick but can be difficult to use for some. Patients with periodontal disease or braces may also find traditional flossing cumbersome and even painful. Luckily, an alternative to dental floss is easy to use, effective and comfortable.

Floss brushes, also known as interdental brushes, clean the teeth using nylon brushes attached to a plastic handle. These brushes may be conical or tapered and are coated with plastic or nylon, making them safe to use on all teeth, including implants. Some interdental brushes are even treated with antimicrobial agents, making them even more effective against harmful bacteria.

Some features that give floss brushes an advantage over regular dental floss include the following:

• A variety of sizes. Unlike regular dental floss, interdental brushes are available in a wide range of sizes. The gaps between the teeth vary by person, and your dentist can recommend the right sizes for you. The brush should move through the gaps between the teeth comfortably, and the movement should never feel forced. When you use the correct size, you shouldn't feel any discomfort.

• Flexible handle. Flossing the teeth in the back of your mouth is important because these teeth do most of the chewing and are therefore most at risk for harboring food particles and bacteria. Traditional dental floss, held between the forefingers and thumbs, is difficult to manipulate between the back teeth. This inadequate technique allows plaque to form easily between the teeth and puts patients at risk for cavities and gum disease. Interdental brushes are attached to flexible rubber handles, making it easier to access hard-to-reach places.

• Improved gum health. Like regular dental floss, the brushes remove food debris and bacteria that from between the teeth and underneath the gums, reducing the risk of developing gum disease. But interdental brushes also massage the gums as they clean, which promotes better overall gum health.

• Reusability. Dental floss is used once then tossed in the trash, but you can us interdental brushes over again, just like a toothbrush. Using the brush carefully and rinsing it after each use can extend the life of each brush up to a week.

• Handy for people with braces. For people with braces, using dental floss to clean between the teeth can be difficult, if not impossible. Interdental brushes, in contrast, are easy to use around wires and brackets to prevent the buildup of plaque.

More Like This

4 benefits of using dental floss


Should you floss before or after brushing? Some dentists have a preference, but most will be happy if you just floss regularly. (Photo by Katie Jacewicz)
Should you floss before or after brushing? Some dentists have a preference, but most will be happy if you just floss regularly. (Photo by Katie Jacewicz)

Everyone knows that good dental hygiene is important, but we often overlook regular use of dental floss as part of our regimen. Floss often to combat cavities, gum disease, tartar, bad breath and tooth decay.

Add comment

Anonymous reviews are Internet graffiti.  Angie's List has real reviews from real people.

What is Angie's List?

Angie’s List is the trusted site where more than 3 million households go to get ratings and reviews on everything from home repair to health care. Stop guessing when it comes to hiring! Check Angie’s List to find out who does the best work in town.

Local Discounts

Daily deals up to 70% off popular home improvement projects from top-rated contractors on Angie’s List!