Flosser picks (also called floss picks) have become very popular in recent years, especially for families with young children.
Manufacturers have touted their benefits as a great, fun way to get kids into the healthy habit of flossing by even putting children’s hero icons on the handles. (Anyone up for a Dora flosser?)
But do these flosser picks really provide the benefits suggested or are they actually ingraining poor oral hygiene habits?
Here are our 4 main reasons why flosser picks are not a healthy floss option.
If you’ve been reading our blog for a bit, you’ll know we like to stay firmly rooted in solutions. In other words, there’s plenty in the oral health/dental world to complain and ‘yell fire’ about.
But that’s not our style. We like to share our thoughts/research on solutions that will help you navigate this path to greater oral health.
So, it’s in this spirit of helping that we share why we consider flosser picks a very poor choice of floss for anyone looking to navigate the path to a healthier mouth.
1. Floss picks lack the powerful feedback info regular floss can provide.
One of the biggest hurdles anyone on the path to greater oral health has to get over is a lack of awareness with what’s going on in our own mouth. We call this a mental disconnect.
The absolute best strategy to provide more information about what’s going on in your own mouth is to ‘consciously floss’. We coined the term ‘conscious flossing’ to describe a strategy of flossing and checking for any smell and/or color at each flossing site.
This conscious flossing technique gives us very important feedback information regarding where in our mouths we might have active infection.
The first problem with flosser picks is you don’t have a clean segment of floss to use at each flossing site to determine what’s going on at that site. So, we lose this very important opportunity to gain more insight into the health of our gum pockets by using a flosser pick.
2. Floss picks can be tough on sensitive gum tissue.
When I was a kid (Will here), my friends and I would dare each other to sit still while the other held a rubber band between thumb and index finger and ’SNAP’ the rubber band by pulling the middle back like a slingshot and releasing onto our cringing buddy. (What are friends for, right?)
Floss picks can function similar to the rubber band torture toy we used to play with as kids. If you have tight contacts between teeth which provides a bit of resistance when inserting floss between your teeth, when flossing with a segment of floss, you can wiggle the floss back and forth to avoid snapping the floss onto your gum tissue.
However, the floss pick lacks the space to do this ‘wiggle the floss into the pocket’ strategy. So, you’re left with snapping the floss between the tight contact and risk torturing your gum tissue.
For clarity, gum tissue is resilient and likes to be massaged, even stimulated. But it doesn’t like to be banged by floss being inserted roughly into the gum pocket.
3. Floss picks risk spreading bad bugs into healthy parts of your mouth.
Our biggest reason for not being fans of floss picks is using the same little piece of floss between many teeth risks moving bad bugs from one pocket to other areas of the mouth that may not have been infected by bad bugs yet.
Think about it. One of the main functions of flossing is to disrupt and disorganize bad bugs. When you do this with a piece of floss, some of the bad bugs are left clinging to the floss segment. This is why is it very important to always use a clean bit of floss at each floss site.
To add insult to injury, by using the same segment of floss throughout the mouth, not only are you giving bad bugs a free ride around your mouth, you are actually inserting them right where you least want them, where they thrive best, and where they can do the most damage… at the bottom of your gum pockets.
4. The impact of single use plastics.
Even if you don’t consider yourself much of an ‘environmentalist’, I’m sure we can all agree that any chance we can lower our consumption of ‘single use’ plastic, it’s a step in the right direction regarding lowering our impact and helping the world be less polluted one floss pick at a time.
If you keep your eyes open for flossers, you’ll see them everywhere, from parking lots to playgrounds. Sure, if we all put our trash in trash cans, we wouldn’t have to look at these flossers all over. But an even better step is to just stop using them.