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Victoria Island | Ikorodu | Isolo (09166512350)

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What is Dental Floss?

Dental floss (or dental tape) and other interdental cleaners (e.g., small brushes, special wooden or plastic picks, sticks, or water flossers) remove food trapped between the teeth. And remove the film of bacteria that forms there before it has a chance to harden into plaque. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces.

Plaque that is not removed can harden into tartar. A hard mineral deposit forms on teeth and can only be removed through professional cleaning by a dental professional. When this happens, brushing and cleaning between teeth become more difficult, and gum tissue can become swollen or may bleed.

a man doing interdental cleaning
African man cleaning his teeth with floss.

This condition is called gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. Interproximal cleaning techniques (e.g., manual or powered interdental cleaners, water flossers, interdental brushes). Appear to add benefits in plaque reduction when used in association with conventional manual brushes.

The choice between technique types should be made on the characteristics of the patient. For example, dental floss could be indicated in individuals with closed interdental spaces. And interproximal brushes in patients with periodontitis or those with more open interproximal spaces.

What to know about Interdental Cleaning 

Interdental cleaning helps remove debris and interproximal dental plaque, the plaque that collects between two teeth. Dental floss and other interdental cleaners help clean these hard-to-reach tooth surfaces. And reduce the likelihood of gum disease and tooth decay.

A news release from the ADA reaffirmed the use of an interdental cleaner (like floss). As an essential part of taking care of teeth and gums. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also reaffirmed flossing. As “an important oral hygiene practice” in an August 2016 communication to ADA News.


Floss was once made from silk fibers twisted to form a long strand. Today, floss is usually made from nylon filaments or plastic monofilaments.1 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies dental floss as a Class I device. Which means it is deemed to be low risk and subject to the least regulatory controls.  Floss may be treated with flavoring agents, such as mint, to make flossing more pleasant.

There is no difference in the effectiveness of waxed or unwaxed floss. Although rare cases of contact hypersensitivity to waxed or coated floss have been reported. It’s generally not what type of floss is used, but how and when it’s used. Floss-related products include floss holders, floss threaders, or floss picks.

Other Interdental Cleaners that are used to aid Oral health

While floss is a flexible strand. Other interdental cleaners specifically made for this purpose include dental/floss picks and pre-threaded flossers. Tiny brushes that reach between the teeth, powered air or water flossers, or wooden plaque removers.

Interdental brushes are small-headed toothbrushes that are available in a range of different sizes to match the space between teeth. They can be cone-shaped or cylindrical. Brushes for use for cleaning around implants have coated wire to avoid scratching the implants or causing a shock.

Using floss or interdental cleaner with toothbrushing is more effective than brushing alone at reducing plaque and gingivitis.

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