Everyone has their preferred, go-to dental care products to help maintain a healthy smile. But, if you’re thinking of adding something new to your toolbox, you may want to consider floss picks.
On top of brushing your teeth, floss picks are a great addition to any oral health routine. Unlike floss alone, a floss pick is a plastic dental tool that holds a small piece of string and has a pointy pick at the end. They’re easy to grip, slim enough to carry anywhere, and can help you fight plaque buildup.
Read on for tips to help choose and properly use floss picks. Trust us, your teeth will thank you!
Choosing a floss pick
When picking the best floss pick (see what we did there?), there are a few things to consider. In terms of size, most floss picks are designed to fit comfortably in your mouth, be easy to maneuver, and convenient for on the go.
Another common thread? Plastic. A good thing when it comes to price and quantity, but not so great for Mother Earth. Gross picks littering the sidewalk? No thanks.
But it’s not all bad news. Some floss picks are actually made from eco-friendly materials, like corn starch, while others can be reused for life, like the quip Refillable Floss Pick. quip’s sustainable design features a durable, easy-to-string handle and mirrored dispenser. Plus, a single refill replaces 180 plastic floss picks.
So… what’s the biggest deciding factor? Believe it or not, personal preference. Why? Choosing a floss pick you actually use might make you floss more often, like dentists recommend.
How to use a floss pick
Compared to the back and forth sliding of regular string, floss picks can be confusing. Should you floss up and down? Side to side? Well, that’s a trick question. The right answer is to floss in both directions so you clean at least two of the five surfaces toothbrushes fail to reach:
Step #1 – Slide your floss pick between your teeth.
Step #2 – Let the string curve around the tooth in a “c” shape.
Step #3 – Move from the highest point of the tooth, where it makes contact with the gum. Then move the pick from side to side to remove additional buildup.
Step #4 – Restring (or rinse) your floss pick halfway through your routine — between your top and bottom teeth — and repeat the steps above.
Improve your floss pick technique
Not sure you’re flossing right? Your gums, like an annoying younger sibling, will tell on you. When they get irritated or start to bleed, that’s a sign you may be doing something wrong.
Here’s how to avoid getting into a painful situation:
Be gentle – Flossing a little too rough can cause your gums to bleed, which can lead to serious problems in the future. Be gentle with the floss as you work to remove the bacteria and plaque buildup.
Slow down – There is no reward for flossing in under a minute, so take your time. Generally, when you’re flossing correctly, it should take two to five minutes.
Floss the back of the mouth – It’s important to floss your rear teeth since bacteria can get stuck behind the tooth and irritate the gums. Floss picks are easy to grip so you may find that you have more dexterity and can reach those back molars.
How often should you use a floss Pick?
Too much flossing can irritate your gums, but too little can encourage bacteria buildup. So, what should you do? With the right routine (that means brushing for two minutes, every AM and PM), flossing once a day should be enough to maintain good dental hygiene.
#quiptip: Traditional dental floss tends to be recommended for daily use because you aren’t reusing the same small string for each tooth. But, a refillable floss pick solves that problem and allows you to restring the pick multiple times. This is a better option for those who prefer the grip and convenience of a floss pick.
If you remember just one thing…
Whether you're adding regular floss, dental floss picks, waxed floss, or another flosser to your routine, flossing (period!) is critical to maintaining mouth health and helping prevent issues like gum disease, inflammation, or even tooth decay.
Now that you know the proper flossing technique for a floss pick, you’re ready to take on the world — and that steak dinner — with the promise of clean and fresh teeth.