How Many Floss Picks Should I Use Every Time I Floss?

Two Dentists Answer

Whether you love single-use floss picks…

Or you prefer a reusable flosser, like the Element floss holder

You may be wondering:

How many floss picks should I use per 1 session of flossing?

Or, how often do I need to re-string a floss holder?

Well, we asked two practicing dentists in the U.S. to give us their independent opinions.

Find out what they had to say.

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

An Image of a Dental Pick
How Many?
The Catch
Dr. Grillo’s Answer
Dr. Anand’s Answer

Introduction

Although we tried our very best…

We couldn’t find any objective (clinical trial) research that directly answered this article’s question.

That’s okay though.

Instead:

We asked two practicing dentists to answer the question for us. We encourage you to read their full answers below.

But:

We thought it would be best to quickly summarize what they had to say…

Should you use one floss pick for the whole mouth?

An Image of a Dental Pick and Teeth

If you use disposable floss picks, then you can use just one floss pick every time you floss. You don’t have to get a new disposable flosser for every gap between your teeth. You don’t need a new floss pick for every tooth.

There’s just one catch.

And we address it below.

How often do you need to re-string a floss holder for every session of flossing?

If you use a reusable floss pick, then you don’t have to re-string the floss holder for every tooth. Or for every gap between the teeth.

Again, there’s just one catch.

Here’s the catch

An Image of a Dental Pick With Shredded Floss

Although you typically don’t need more than one floss pick per session of flossing…

If you notice that the floss is shredding, stretching, or coming apart in any way…

Then you’ll definitely want to use a new floss pick.

The same idea goes for floss holders.

If you notice the floss is losing tension or is shredding, then you’ll need to re-string the floss holder.

Unless you’re using the Element floss holder

The Element lets you instantly re-tension the floss…

So you don’t have to unwind the old floss and wind a new piece of floss.

Dr. Greg Grillo’s Answer

For a single session of flossing, is it ok for a person to use the same disposable flosser for the entire mouth? Is it ok for a person to use the same section of floss on a floss holder for the entire mouth?  Should a person rinse the floss pick occasionally as they floss the mouth?

A Headshot of Dr. Greg Grillo, DDS

“It’s acceptable to use a single disposable flosser for the entire mouth. However, if the floss frays or breaks, it may not be possible to get through the entire mouth with one.

If it’s possible to rinse the floss or pick as you floss, it may help, but there’s no clear guideline for how often to rinse.

The same applies to a floss holder, although the user may be able to adjust the floss to a new section if it starts to fray.

But bacteria are microorganisms, and millions of them remain behind regardless of the technique. Yet disruption of the plaque layer prevents a “load” that leads to disease activity, and that’s the key to oral health.”

Dr. Erica Anand’s Answer

For a single session of flossing, is it ok for a person to use the same single-use floss pick for the entire mouth? Is it ok for a person to use the same section of floss on a reusable floss pick for the entire mouth? Should a person rinse the flosser or floss holder occasionally as they floss the mouth?

A Headshot of Dr Erica Anand DDS

“If you floss regularly, then using the same disposable flosser should not pose a problem for your oral health.

If you have healthy, pink gums that don’t bleed when flossing, then you should be safe to use the same part of floss for the entire mouth.

Rinsing the floss pick can be done occasionally throughout flossing in order to remove any food debris.”

All of that being said…

While it’s ok to use one flosser for the entire mouth, both dentists agree that it’s not ok to reuse a disposable floss pick for another session of flossing.

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