Twice daily tooth brushing is recommended by dentists. However, brushing is not sufficient to completely dislodge food remnants and plaque from areas not accessible by brush bristles. Dental floss is a piece of thread which the user extends into the interdental space to clean it. It’s also available as in a wider, flatter form and is often recommended for dental patients with larger tooth surface to cover.

Thread floss is available in reels of multi-strand cotton thread. The multi -floss tends to break in certain situations when the space between the teeth is uneven, or too narrow.  For this reason single strand PTFE floss is also available. One time cotton floss is also available with plastic handles with an inch of thread spread taught between two arms. The reel floss is used in pieces of about 18 inches at a time. Ends of the thread are rolled around the two index fingers to leave about two inches of thread taught between the fingers and held between the respective index fingers and the thumbs. With open mouth, the hands are positioned so that the thread is above an interdental space and aligned with it. Then the thread is pushed between the two teeth. The thread is held pressed against the wall of one tooth and slowly moved up and down. Then the same is done with the other tooth.

The gum between the teeth can be cleaned with a length wise movement of the floss. This movement may also be needed for removing stuff stuck hard between the teeth.   Tape floss is much easier to use because only a length wise movement will be sufficient. Both the thread and tape floss are available either pre-waxed or without any wax, in addition to being coated with an antibacterial agent.