Dental floss is a string used to promote good oral hygiene and health. This is accomplished when the string is placed between the teeth and used to remove plaque and other items that can lead to tooth decay and bad breath. Several varieties of dental floss exist, including types that are waxed, flavored, and strung onto picks.
Nylon has traditionally been the most popular choice for manufacturing these products, but Teflon may also be used. Although the design of the packaging in which dental floss is contained generally prevents people from seeing it in bulk, it is usually stored on a roll. The amount contained on the roll can vary. That roll is encased in individual-sized plastic packaging that help to keep the unused string clean and untangled.
Some dental floss is covered with wax. It helps to facilitate the glide action used to remove substances from between the teeth. This variety is suggested for people whose teeth are tight. Other than making the process easier, the wax that coats the string is not recognized as having any other benefit. This means that people with spaces between their teeth generally do not need to be concerned with whether their floss is waxed or unwaxed.
Dental floss may contain fluoride. This is a chemical commonly added to dental products because it is believed to help prevent tooth decay. Another feature that some dental flosses have is that they are flavored, which can serve several purposes. Flavored dental flosses may help motivate people to clean between their teeth. It can also freshen the breath, especially at times when a person has eaten and decides to floss without brushing.
Dental floss may be found strung on dental picks. These are products that make flossing easier for some people. Usually made of plastic, a dental pick holds the dental floss taut so a person can easily insert it between the teeth without needing to hold the ends of the loose string tight.
In whatever form it is purchased, dental floss is a disposable item. After it is used once, it is discarded. The amount needed to sufficiently clean a person’s teeth can vary and generally depends on her flossing methods. Using this product can result in gum bleeding or irritation. If these side effects occur they should be mild, otherwise they may be an indication of a need for medical attention.