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Flossing is an important part of your dental hygiene program and should be done on a daily basis. Without flossing, you are leaving your teeth and gums vulnerable to destruction by tooth decay and periodontal disease. Walking down the drug store aisles you will see choice after choice of different types of dental floss by different companies. How do you choose the right dental floss for you?

Different Types Of Dental Floss

Generally there are two types of dental floss on the market today. These include the following:

-Multifilament floss (like nylon floss or silk floss). This is the traditional, most common form of dental floss most of us are used to. Nylon floss is also the cheapest and usually found in generic brand name floss. This type of floss can be made wider and fluffier to accommodate wider spaces, and have additives such as fluoride incorporated. This type of floss will tend to break and shred during use.

-Monofilament floss (aka single filament). This type of dental floss is usually made of a type of rubber, plastic, or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This floss uses newer technology, and since it isn’t a fabric like nylon, it doesn’t rip or tear. Due to its strength, many people prefer this type as they find it easier to pull between teeth without breakage. The plastic/rubber type tend to glide easier between teeth so many companies call this type of floss Glide.

Dental Floss Options

Now that we know the two basic types of dental floss available, what options can come with either of them?

-Flavor. This can be important to many because it makes the chore of flossing a little easier if it tastes ok. Dental floss can come in flavors ranging from bubblegum to mint to even bacon (yes! bacon flavored dental floss is available!).

-Thickness. Dental floss can come in various size thickness. This is important because our teeth are unique to us and are not one size fits all. Everyone has different size teeth as well as different size spacing between our teeth or under and around crown and bridge work. The best thickness dental floss for you is the one that is able to slide easily between teeth without shredding or getting stuck, and wide enough to remove food particles. Snapping or slicing dental floss between teeth is a good way to cause injury to the gum tissues.

-Waxed or Unwaxed. At one time this was the only option. This option is only available for nylon dental floss. The monofilament floss does not need wax it slides just fine on its own. The wax is simply there to help the floss squeeze between teeth easier. It is a personal preference as to use waxed or unwaxed. There is no clinical difference between the two.

-Dental Tape. This type of dental floss is basically a wide, flat ribbon of nylon. Many people find dental tape easier to get between their teeth than traditional floss due to it being thinner. Dental tape and dental floss are generally in the same family, despite having different names.

-Dental yarn. This floss is soft, wide, and fluffy. It is great for wide spaces and in areas of periodontal disease. Some woven yarn flosses even have fluoride particles embedded so that you can leave strengthening fluoride between the teeth where you need it most.

-Threader Floss. This floss has a hard end which can be easily used to thread under braces and bridgework. It is easier to use than a plastic floss threader, and saves time.

Best Dental Floss On The Market

Presently, Reach has a newer dental floss called Total Care. It is wide like a tape, but elastic and stretchy to accommodate almost any space. It also next to impossible to break while flossing.

Dental Floss Conclusion

Flossing is an essential step in maintaining good oral hygiene. There are so many choices today, it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. Talk to your hygienist about your personal needs, he/she should then be able to suggest the best type of floss for your oral condition.The key takeaway is to use what works best for you and use it regularly to have a happy smile for a lifetime.



A dental emergency can arise at any time. We can limit the chance of a toothache type of dental emergency by seeking regular dental care. Most dental issues take months (and in some cases years) to develop. A dental emergency can also occur following even the slightest trauma. Being prepared with a few items in a dental emergency kit can help you to provide care in the case of a trauma or other dental emergency. What are the most common emergencies and what else can you do if a dental emergency arises?

Common Dental Emergencies

-Broken or Fractured Tooth – This dental emergency can become quite painful very quickly. If the nerve of the tooth is exposed just the simple act of breathing will begin to hurt. This may also be a “cosmetic dental emergency”, usually if it involves damage to a front tooth without pain. Unfortunately, broken teeth cannot be fixed at home and will need immediate attention by a dentist. For a back tooth, a medicated filling may be placed until you can be seen by your dentist. A product called Dentemp can be purchased at the drug store, mixed and placed by you, to help temporarily cover the hole. Whether or not the tooth can be saved depends on how severe the break is. Until you are able to get to your dentist, rinse your mouth with warm water, apply a cold compress outside the affected area, and keep the area as clean as possible. May consider taking an anti-inflammatory medication to keep the swelling down as well as take the edge off the pain that can develop. It is not suggested to take aspirin, it will cause difficulties in clotting if the tooth needs to be removed.

-Injury to your Jaw/TMJ - If you suspect you may have broken your jaw, apply a cold compress to the area and immediately go to the dentist or to the emergency room. If you have locked or dislocated your jaw, you will need to have the jawbone re positioned back into your TMJ. Ice immediately.

-Painful swelling. This is a definite dental emergency and you should call your dentist immediately for care. Dental swelling is due to an infection called an abscess. This can lead to an infection that affects your entire body and in rare cases can lead to death. To relieve some of the pressure you will want to apply cold compresses to the area, rinse with saltwater, and try to keep your head elevated. Once an infection gets to this point, most over the counter medications will not do much to ease the pain. Antibiotics will be required, and drainage of the infection will require you to be seen by your dentist.

-Biting Lip or Tongue with excessive bleeding - If you accidentally bite your lip, tongue, or part in your mouth, clean the area and apply a cold compress to help decrease swelling. If the bleeding is extensive, or will not stop in a few minutes, call your dentist or go to the emergency room.

-Tooth That Becomes Loose - If one of your teeth is loose, see your dentist right away. Your dentist may be able to save the tooth. Until you are able to get to your dentist’s office, take tylenol or aleve and apply a cold compress to the affected area to relieve pain.  If the tooth is loose due to trauma, the dentist will most likely recommend splinting the loose tooth to an adjacent tooth or two to allow for the tooth to re stabilize in the bone. a loose tooth can also be caused by periodontal disease which will develop over a period of years. In that case, you may not be able to save the tooth and it may be recommended to remove the tooth and have a dental implant placed instead. Never touch or play with a loose tooth. The more movement it receives, the less likely you will be able to save it.

-Pericoronitis. This is an infection that can happen when your molars erupt into your mouth, a flap of gum tissue remains over the back end of the tooth, becomes irritated and swollen, and can be quite painful. If you experience symptoms of pericoronitis, which may include swollen and irritated gums, a bad taste/odor in your mouth, or you are not able to fully open your mouth, call your dentist right away.

-Sudden Or Severe Toothache. If your tooth is aching, rinse out your mouth with warm water and gently floss around the tooth to make sure there is nothing lodged between your teeth. Call your dentist immediately. This could be a gum irritation or infection, or a tooth problem such as a crack or infection.

-Tooth That Has Been Knocked Out (also called avulsed tooth) - The key here is to clean off the tooth immediately to remove any dirt and debris. You want to avoid scrubbing the tooth, just a gentle rinsing will be fine. If the tooth can be re implanted you should try to do so. This is not always possible if there is bleeding and swelling in the affected area. The second best option is to place the tooth in a milk solution. The milk will act as a preservative and increase the long term chances of a successful re implantation. You should call or see your dentist immediately even if you are able to re implant the tooth yourself. The tooth will probably need to be splinted to another tooth while it heals as well as have your dentist check that it is in proper alignment. The tooth will also need to be monitored over time to gauge the success of the re implantation as well as any long term affects that might happen due to the trauma.

-Lost Dental Filling or Dental Crown - Unfortunately, this dental emergency can happen at any time even with regular dental care. If your dental crown does come off call your dentist immediately for instructions. Most drug stores do sell fixodent, or temporary cement to place it back on until you are able to be seen by your dentist. This will limit the possibility of tooth decay developing or tooth sensitivity. The same can be done for a lost filling, most drug stores sell a temporary filling material that can be applied at home. Either way, you will need to seek dental care ASAP to prevent further damage from occurring.

-Damage To Braces - If you suspect or know that you have damaged your braces in some way, you should call your dentist or orthodontist. In some cases, they will want to see you right away (especially if the break is causing pain or discomfort) or they may recommend waiting until your next appointment.

-Food Or Debris Lodged Between Your Teeth - If food or debris gets stuck between your teeth, try to swish aggressively, then gently remove it with dental floss. Be careful not to cause undue trauma to the area. If the object still will not come free, call your dentist for further instructions.

Simple Dental Emergency Kit: 

Dentemp - temporary medicated filling-to fill in broken tooth areas.

Fixodent - to temporarily cement a crown back in.

Floss - to remove lodged debris.

Tooth Saver Container - to transport an avulsed tooth in a dental emergency.

Pressure activated ice pack, advil, gauze.

Dental Emergency Conclusion

Since, a dental emergency can lead to life threatening infections or tooth loss, you should seek dental care immediately. The sooner you are able to seek dental treatment, the better your chances are to minimize any life threatening conditions. Regular dental care will lower the chances of most dental emergencies ever occurring but if they do occur you need to ensure you choose a dentist who will be available to you after hours and on weekends. Many dental offices, will not re open or even take calls directly for dental emergencies after hours. This can be an important question to ask when choosing a new dentist. Be prepared, and you and those around you will be ready if or when a dental emergency occurs.