Is Luxury Dental Floss Worth the Money?

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Dec 15, 2022 – You probably don’t floss your teeth as often as your dentist recommends. (Once a day keeps plaque away, according to the American Dental Association.) But if you’re brushing between your pearlescent brushes, are you using the 99-cent spool from the drugstore or the $10 roll from a subscription box?

If you’re just learning about the existence of luxury dental floss, it’s probably because interdental blends — from fruit-scented fibers infused with coconut oil to vegan, gluten-free bamboo floss — are relatively new to the rude 5 billion dollars annually oral health market in the United States.

Quality dental floss is trending, says Marion Manski, director of the department of dental hygiene at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry in Richmond. But are these products better at getting rid of whistling between teeth?

“I’m glad patients have these products to choose from. It can be their preference, and it will be the trick that works for them,” she says. “But I’m always very cautious about the claims.”

Manski has tried more than a few flosses in her nearly 40 years as a dental hygienist. She says that mass-market varieties are generally just as good at removing bacterial plaque as boutique brands.

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

The fascination of luxury dental floss

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

Overall, only about a third of American adults ages 30 and older suggest flossing daily a 2018 study published in 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, flossing patients was like pulling teeth.

“I became totally obsessed with flossing because flossing gets to an area that toothbrushes can’t,” she says. “People get cavities between their teeth all the time, and flossing could have prevented that.”

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

Last but not least, a visit to Cocofloss website is a tropical vacation for the eyes. A palette of Caribbean blue and peachy pink greets shoppers in the market for banana daiquiri and confetti cake scented floss. The company, which Cu co-founded with her sister, artist Cat Cu, aims to bring those relaxing vibes to the flossing experience.

As the name suggests, Cocofloss is made with coconut oil. The floss is circular and textured, which Cu says makes it better than drugstore varieties, which can glide over plaque without removing the sticky buildup.

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

The advertised oral escape comes at a high cost: a 33-yard spool costs $10. Cocofloss has many competitors in the clean beauty space, such as DrTung’s Smart Dental Floss, made of stretchable fibers coated with vegetable and beeswax. A pair of 30-yard spools costs $9.84. zero waste dental floss, 33 yards of EcoRoots Charcoal Infused Bamboo is $9.99.

Meanwhile, Walmart is selling 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 dental floss for $5.59. Other options include dental floss picks, which Manski says work in a pinch, and water floss, which can cost more than $100.

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

A study published last February in the diary materials supports this view: “Despite the fact that dental floss today 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 properties,” the authors concluded.

Ask your dental hygienist for help with flossing

Can you remember life before brushing your teeth? The plot has been so ingrained in our everyday lives since early childhood that it almost seems like an evolutionary trait. But we are not born to know how to clean properly.

Whether a toothbrush is cheap plastic or 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 completely wrong and it won’t be effective. Same goes for the floss,” she says. “If you’re not cleaning that interdental space — the space between the tooth and gum that you can see — then it really isn’t effective.”

While the idea of ​​asking your dental hygienist to show you how to floss properly — something you thought you’d known for decades — might be embarrassing, don’t worry, McComas says. Not only can you assess your flossing technique, but you can also determine if your preferred brand of floss is right for you.

The bottom line: There is no one size fits all for dental floss. The best type for you will depend on things like the space between your teeth, whether you have hardware, and whether you wear braces, McComas says.

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

Manski and McComas emphasize that the best floss is the kind you use every day.

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

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Is Luxury Dental Floss Worth the Money?
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