Are Floss Picks Reusable?

Here’s What Two Dentists Said

There are clearly reusable floss picks, like the Element floss holder

And then there are disposable floss picks.

In the case of disposable ones:

Is it OK to reuse floss picks?

Or should you throw a disposable flosser away after you finish flossing?

We asked two practicing dentists in the U.S. to independently tell us.

Here’s what they had to say.

Written by Artem Cheprasov and answered by Greg Grillo, DDS and Erica Anand, DDS. Last updated: May 3, 2022.

An image showing a floss pick being reused
Key Takeaways
Dr. Grillo’s Answer
Dr. Anand’s Answer

Key Takeaways

We encourage you to read each dentist’s full answer below.

But here’s a quick summary of what both of them basically said about disposable floss picks.

All in all, you shouldn’t use disposable picks more than once.

An image showing that a floss pick shouldn't be used more than once

In other words:

You should change the floss pick after each session of flossing.

You may also need to use more than one floss pick per session of flossing if the floss starts to fray or stretch.

An Image of a Dental Pick With Shredded Floss

While disposable floss picks and reusable flossers are hygienic and healthy to use when they’re clean…

It’s usually not hygienic to use disposable flossers more than once because of two reasons.

First:

The floss on these single-use flossers may no longer be as effective as it should be.

Second:

Leaving out a used disposable floss pick can (re)introduce bad germs into your mouth.

An image showing that reusing a floss pick can introduce bacteria into the mouth

Only in very select cases, when the single-use floss pick looks in superb condition…

And when you have no other choice…

Might it be ok to thoroughly rinse and clean it off for a second use. But this isn’t advisable.

If you want to reuse a disposable flosser:

It may be better to use an eco-friendly floss pick, like the Element reusable floss holder, instead.

Or…

You can find another reusable floss pick that’s best for you in our guide to the best dental floss holders.

Dr. Greg Grillo’s Answer

After using a disposable flosser to floss the entire mouth, is it then ok to wash this single-use flosser, let it dry, and then reuse it for a second or third session of flossing?

A Headshot of Dr. Greg Grillo, DDS

“Most disposable flossers show wear and tear after one full use through the mouth, and the floss isn’t likely to be as effective a second time.

If it appears to be in good shape and you can clean it off, a second use may be possible.

But disposable flossers are inexpensive, and a new one helps ensure you do the best possible cleaning each time.

Plus, if you store a used flosser on a counter or in a drawer, it does contain bacteria and isn’t very hygienic.

If you’ve been sick with a virus, it could still hold viral particles; this is also why you should change or disinfect your toothbrush after you’ve been sick.”

Dr. Erica Anand’s Answer

How many times can you use a disposable floss pick?

A Headshot of Dr Erica Anand DDS

“A disposable flosser is designed exactly as its name describes it to be.

It is disposable.

So when you are done with a session of flossing, throw it out.

The reason they come in large quantity bags is because they’re easily accessible, affordable, and meant to be used only once.

Leaving a flosser out, even after attempting to clean it, could allow bacteria to harbor around the string or plastic and introduce bacteria into your mouth.

It is better to use a new piece of traditional floss or a new flosser.”

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