Are Floss Picks a Hygienic and Healthy Way to Floss?

Two Dentists Give Their Answers

As the creators of the Element, the eco-friendly floss holder

We naturally wanted to know:

Are floss picks hygienic and healthy to use, or not?

So we asked two practicing dentists in the U.S. to give us their professional opinions.

Take a look at their answers to this question below.

Please note: Dr. Grillo’s and Dr. Anand’s independent responses were edited solely for minor aspects of grammar, spelling, and clarity.

Written by Artem Cheprasov and answered by Greg Grillo, DDS and Erica Anand, DDS. Last updated: Apr. 26, 2022.

An Image of a Healthy Tooth
Misleading Information
Dr. Grillo’s Answer
Dr. Anand’s Answer

There’s a Lot of Misinformation About Floss Picks

Disposable flossers (single-use floss picks) are found in just about every pharmacy aisle…

And floss holders (reusable floss picks) are becoming a popular, eco-friendlier, alternative to them.

But at the end of the day…

Both these types of flossers are just a device with a piece of floss that’s strung between two prongs.

An image comparing a floss holder to a floss pick

So they’re pretty much the same in terms of function.

Nevertheless:

A quick search on “Dr. Google” will yield a lot of misinformation about single-use floss picks and reusable flossers.

Like false claims that they’re not as effective as floss

Inconsistent opinions on whether or not they’re bad for your teeth

Or if it’s ok to use one pick for the entire mouth or to reuse a disposable pick.

One common claim is that it’s not hygienic to use disposable flossers nor reusable floss picks.

But is this really true?

Or are floss picks a healthy way to floss your teeth?

Regular readers of our blog articles know we’re all about evidence-based medicine and information. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any clinical trials in the English language that answered this article’s question.

So we did the next best thing:

We asked two practicing dentists the same question.

To prevent “group think” we asked them for their honest opinion independently of one another.

Let’ see what Dr. Grillo and Dr. Anand had to say.

Dr. Greg Grillo’s Answer

Assuming a person has healthy gums and teeth: Are floss holders and disposable flossers a hygienic way to floss; why or why not?

A Headshot of Dr. Greg Grillo, DDS

Yes, these oral care tools offer an excellent way for many people to improve their oral health.

Some surveys suggest that half of people don’t floss regularly, and many find traditional flossing difficult.  As a result, they just don’t do it.

As people age, arthritis and dexterity problems can compound the issue at a time when oral health may decline.

It’s never a good time to floss less, but the elderly can benefit significantly from disposable flossers or floss holders. These convenient tools provide an easier way for most people to clean between their teeth, and we want patients to find something that works well in their hands.

Brushing without flossing is like only stepping halfway into the shower, so we need to find consistent ways to clean all parts of the teeth.”

Dr. Erica Anand’s Answer

Assuming a person has healthy gums and teeth: Are reusable floss picks and single-use flossers a hygienic way to floss; why or why not?

A Headshot of Dr Erica Anand DDS

Disposable flossers are a great way to keep the spaces between your teeth free of plaque and food debris.

Disposable flossers and floss holders make it easier to clean those difficult to reach areas, especially for people with dexterity problems or arthritis.

They are also hygienic to use because you can rinse off any plaque or food in between flossing and throw them out at the end of each use.

While traditional floss may be considered more hygienic, there shouldn’t be an issue for people with healthy gums and teeth.

However, for those who don’t regularly brush and floss, then the floss picks may spread bacteria, which can slightly increase a person’s risk for gum disease and tooth decay.”

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