Which Flossing Utensil to Use

Several of Summit Family and Cosmetic Dentistry’s suggested floss and flossing tools.

If you’re not flossing once a day, now’s a great time to start. Flossing has been shown to extract food particles from the teeth and deter plaque, which can help in the battle against decayed teeth and periodontal disease.

The question is: which flossing utensil should you use?

You’ve probably noticed that your local grocery store’s oral care selection is riddled with different types of floss. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) has approved 19 brands of floss (including manual and powered).

Before you drive to the store, be sure to read this blog in its entirety. It can help you figure out which floss you’ll be happiest with for the long run. Let’s get started.

Which Flossing Utensil is Best?

There are various flossing tools to help you get between your teeth. The most common types of floss are standard floss, flossers (AKA floss picks), and water picks (AKA Waterpiks, water flossers, dental water jets, or oral irrigators). No matter which type you select, you shouldn’t experience pain.

Flossing is a simple, effective way to clean the small spaces between your teeth. The right way to floss is to gently drag the floss along the side of your teeth (from top to bottom). Keep a distance from the gums to prevent bleeding and scratching. You’ll want to do each tooth individually. It might take a few minutes, but it’s well worth it.

Below is a quick breakdown of each flossing utensil to help you understand its benefits:

Standard Floss

Standard floss containers often include several feet of floss. You’ll use about 18 inches when you floss daily, and you’ll want to work your way down the floss so that you don’t reuse the same section. (If you do, that can distribute bacteria throughout your mouth.)

Dentists often provide standard floss, as it’s easy and safe to use for most ages. However, it can be tricky if you have certain dental conditions. If you’re not sure if standard floss would work for your dental condition, talk to your dentist.

The ADA-approved standard floss includes the following: CVS Health EaseBetween Floss, Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Comfort Plus Floss, Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Floss, quip Refillable Floss String, REACH Floss (Waxed and Mint Waxed), Tom’s of Maine Naturally Waxed Antiplaque Flat Floss, and CVS Health Dental Floss.


  • (Often) the most economical
  • Enters tight areas between the teeth with ease
  • Flavored (for some brands)
  • Available everywhere
  • Easy to transport


  • Must use the right amount of string
  • Can shred while flossing
  • Challenging to reach the back teeth
  • Difficult for those with braces and dental work
  • Must throw away once finished


A flosser has a toothpick on one end and a tiny area of dental floss on the other end. How do you floss with floss picks? You can use them the same general way as you use standard floss (gently navigating the teeth from top to bottom and avoiding the gum line).

It’s a great way to remove any pesky food left behind from your last meal and keep away plaque. You might find it faster than standard floss since you don’t have to load up the floss on your fingers. However, it’s not necessarily better. Each of them has its own benefits.

The ADA-approved manual flossers include the following: DenTek Floss Picks (Comfort Clean), DenTek Floss Picks (Complete Clean), DenTek Kids Fun Flosser Floss Picks, quip Refillable Floss Picks, Stim-U-Dent Plaque Removers, and CVS Health EaseBetween Gentle Picks.


  • Affordable
  • Preloaded with floss
  • Small size that’s perfect for travel
  • Easy and fast to use (great when you’re in a hurry)
  • Combines floss and a toothpick for convenience (sometimes a tongue scraper, too)


  • Not reusable
  • Difficult to floss correctly in harder-to-reach places
  • Might hurt the gums if used improperly
  • Challenging for anyone who has dental work
  • Can spread bacteria throughout the mouth if you use the same flosser for each tooth

Water Pick

This type of flosser is often the first choice for people with mouth hardware. Water picks spray water into your mouth to wash away food remnants. They’re convenient tools for braces, for example, as they can help you get around the brackets and ensure there’s no residue left behind.

However, it’s important to note that water picks don’t replace standard floss or flossers. It’s best to use another type of floss in combination with a water pick to ensure the best plaque and food removal. With water picks, you’ll still get the benefits of flossing your teeth, but they don’t get between the teeth as well as the other methods.

The ADA-approved water picks include the following: Waterpik Battery Operated Water Flossers, Waterpik Sonic-Fusion Toothbrush/Flosser, Waterpik Water Flosser, and Waterpik Whitening Water Flosser.


  • Reusable
  • Simple to use
  • Gentle on the gums
  • Convenient for those with braces and dental bridges
  • Helpful for individuals with arthritis who might experience pain when trying to use standard floss


  • Needs water and power
  • Not as great as standard floss at removing plaque
  • More expensive than other types of floss
  • Must replace flossing heads two to four times per year
  • Takes up space


The most vital thing to know about flossing is that it must be done once per day. Flossing can be fast and painless, and it should always complement the rest of your dental hygiene routine. (Brushing and using mouthwash are essential, too.)

You can choose standard floss, flossers, or water picks. There are a variety of other options out there as well. Consider: (A) whether you have mouth hardware, (B) the ease of use, and (C) the price. If you choose water picks, be sure to grab another type of floss for a better clean.

You don’t have to spend your life’s savings on your floss. It’s an affordable tool to deter plaque, and you can get it from your local grocery store or dentist today.

Have you scheduled your six-month dental cleaning yet? If not, Summit Family and Cosmetic Dentistry would love to help you find a time that works for your busy schedule. Contact us now to arrange cleanings for you and your little ones.