Floss vs Floss Picks: Which is Better for Your Teeth?

Dental Floss
November 27, 2023

Here at Rocky Mountain Smiles in Loveland, CO, we understand the importance of proper dental hygiene. An essential part of caring for your teeth is flossing daily to remove plaque and food particles between your teeth that brushing alone can’t reach. When it comes to flossing, you have two main options – regular floss or floss picks. But which one should you choose? Below we’ll compare the pros and cons of floss vs floss picks to help you decide which is right for your oral health needs.



Key Differences Between Floss and Floss Picks

Regular Floss vs Floss Picks chart

Regular floss is simply a long, thin string-like material used to clean between teeth. Traditional nylon floss is inexpensive and readily available. Here are some key advantages of using regular floss:

More Versatility

Regular floss allows you to use as much or as little floss as you need to thoroughly clean any space between your teeth. You can manipulate the floss to target tough-to-reach spots. It also lets you use any flossing method you prefer.

Cleans Better Around Dental Work

The thin string of regular floss makes it easier to gently maneuver the floss around dental work like braces, bridges, implants, and permanent retainers. Thicker floss picks may be too bulky to properly floss around dental appliances.

Less Waste

Rather than discarding a whole floss pick after each use, you simply use as much regular floss as you need then set aside the rest for next time. This produces significantly less plastic waste.

Deeper Cleaning

When you use regular floss correctly, you can clean the crevices in between your teeth better. It is also more hygienic because you use a fresh section of floss on each tooth. This leads to better oral hygiene and can improve your breath too. 

Floss Picks

Floss Picks

Floss picks, also called disposable flossers, are small plastic tools with a forked end of floss strung between two prongs. They are designed to make flossing more convenient. Here’s what fans of floss picks like about them:

Easier to Use

The pre-loaded strand of floss is held taut between the pick handles so you don’t have to deal with winding and unwinding floss from your fingers. This makes flossing much easier physically.

However, it is less hygienic since you’re using a single piece of floss on every tooth in your mouth. 


Their compact size makes floss picks extremely portable and easy to use on-the-go or while traveling. You can easily stash them in a purse, pocket, or carry-on bag.

Built-In Pick

Many floss picks have a toothpick-like tip on the handle opposite the floss to help dislodge food particles and provide gum stimulation.

Floss vs Floss Picks: The Verdict

When considering floss vs floss picks, there’s no definitive “winner.” Both regular floss and floss picks are effective for cleaning between teeth if used properly. However, regular floss cleans in between your teeth better. Still, t\The most important thing is that you floss your teeth thoroughly each day, regardless of the type of floss you choose.

Here at Rocky Mountain Smiles, we recommend selecting the flossing method that makes this daily habit easiest and most convenient for you. Try out both regular floss and floss picks to see which you prefer. Focus on developing a consistent flossing routine. Don’t let the debate over floss vs floss picks discourage you from flossing altogether!

Need a Dental Appointment? 

Schedule an appointment with Rocky Mountain Smiles today. Our dentists will assess your oral condition, recommend the most effective flossing method for your teeth, and answer any other questions you have about maintaining excellent oral health. Book an appointment online or call (970) 551-2301 to get started.

Oral Hygiene

Flossing Tips from Rocky Mountain Smiles

Proper flossing technique is critical for keeping your teeth and gums healthy, regardless of the type of floss you use. Here are some flossing tips from our dentists:

  • Use a fresh section of floss for each tooth. Unwind new floss as you move from tooth to tooth to avoid spreading bacteria.
  • Curve the floss into a C-shape against each tooth. Gently slide it up and down along the sides of each tooth.
  • Floss beneath the gum line. Gently press the floss beneath the gum line and curve it around the tooth contour.
  • Avoid snapping the floss into gums. Use a gentle sawing motion instead to protect delicate gum tissue.
  • Floss at least once per day. Make flossing at night part of your regular oral hygiene routine.
  • Don’t forget the back teeth. It’s easy to focus just on front teeth, but be sure to floss molars and premolars too.

Proper flossing technique takes practice, so be patient with yourself. Ask us for guidance at your next dental visit.

dental floss FAQs

FAQs About Floss and Flossing

Still have questions about flossing and which type of floss to choose? Check out some frequently asked questions:

Is flossing really necessary?

Yes! Flossing is a critical part of oral hygiene. It removes plaque and debris between teeth that brushing alone can’t reach. Failing to floss can allow plaque buildup that leads to cavities and gum disease.

How often should you floss?

Floss once daily at minimum. Many dental health experts recommend flossing after brushing your teeth at night. But flossing after eating or in the morning is beneficial too.

What floss is best?

There is no single “best” floss. Consider your personal needs and preferences when choosing between regular floss, floss picks, waxed floss, unwaxed floss, flavored floss, etc. Try different types until you find the one you’ll use consistently.

Is flossing tricky to learn?

It may feel awkward at first before you get the technique down. With a little practice, flossing becomes quick and easy. Ask your dentist for tips on proper flossing technique. We’re always happy to help!

Should I use floss picks or regular floss?

Either can be effective if used properly. Floss picks provide portability and ease of use. But regular floss offers more versatility and less waste. Try both to decide which you prefer. The key is to choose the flossing method you’ll stick with daily.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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