Are Floss Picks as Effective as Regular Floss? Let’s Weigh In

Do you always have an excuse to skip flossing? If you do, your overall oral health could be hanging on by a bare thread. 

Surprisingly or unsurprisingly, you’re not actually alone. A survey of 1,005 adults conducted by the American Dental Association found that only 16% floss at least once a day while 8% don’t floss at all.     

Apparently, some people find flossing, mainly using regular string floss, to be a chore. Granted, it can really feel tedious, but should you cancel it altogether? 

What about those food remnants in between your teeth? They eventually become tartar and plaque. Once these bacteria accumulate, they could develop into the worst case of bad breath, gingivitis, and other gum diseases. 
To save you from a lifetime of bad breath and cavities, you may want to consider using another interdental cleaner—one that is proven to be more convenient: the floss picks.

Let’s Take a Look at Some Common Questions About Floss Picks

What are floss picks?

Floss picks or dental floss sticks are a type of interdental cleaner. They are D-shaped plastic with a stretched floss on opposite sides. It has a long handle as well. These dental hygiene products remove food particles that get stuck between your teeth. 

Floss picks are disposable and for single use only. They are available over-the-counter and usually sold in packs

Are floss picks effective?

Yes. The ADA recognizes the benefits of dental floss sticks and other interdental cleaners in cleaning tight spaces in between teeth. 

Brushing, of course, works in cleaning the visible surfaces of your teeth. But it can’t reach the tiny gaps where food particles usually get stuck and become plaque. For those tight spaces, you should use floss picks.

Regular brushing plus the use of floss picks or other interdental cleaners help prevent tooth decay and other gum diseases.

But are floss picks as effective as regular floss?

Yes, they are both effective. 
Is one more effective than the other? No.

We all have different oral health needs and preferences. Some people may have dental work that requires a specific flossing method. Some have physical limitations that make flossing difficult.

Whether you prefer traditional floss, floss pick, or even another interdental cleaner, what matters is that you commit to using them regularly. If you have dental appliances or electronic implants, it is best to consult your dentist about which interdental cleaning device you should use.


In one New York Times article, Dr. Michele Neuburger, a dental officer in the Center for Disease Control, points out the importance of choosing a flossing method that works best for you: The one that you’ll be comfortable using daily. In the same article, ADA spokesperson Dr. Ruchi Sahota advises looking for a product with ADA’s Seal of Acceptance if you don’t know where to start.

Why should I use floss picks if they’re as effective as regular floss?

The edge of floss picks over traditional floss is that you can easily clean tight teeth spaces with little effort. You don’t have to wind up strings around your fingers to use floss picks.   

Dental floss sticks come with plastic handles that make it easier to clean even hard-to-reach areas. In fact, you only need one hand to use floss picks. This feature is particularly beneficial for people with arthritis and other dexterity problems. 


Additionally, unlike standard dental floss, most floss picks are designed with a dental pick on the other end. Use it to remove large food particles in between teeth or to stimulate your gums.

The Best Interdental Cleaner

Whichever type of interdental cleaner you choose, the important thing is that you include flossing in your daily oral hygiene routine. After all, the most effective type of floss is the one that you can use regularly.

If you prefer to use floss picks, choose the product recommended by most dentists, just like the PRO-SYS Extra Strong Flosser Picks®. These dentist-recommended interdental cleaners are shred-resistant and glide easily between teeth. They are also gentle on the gums. 


With the comfort and convenience offered by these extra-strong floss picks, maintaining a healthy oral habit will no longer feel like a tedious chore!

References: 

https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/floss

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/11/smarter-living/wirecutter/if-you-hate-floss-its-ok-to-try-these-alternatives.html

https://villagedentalmedicine.com/are-floss-picks-effective/

https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2017-archive/october/new-survey-highlights-unusual-flossing-habits

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/gum-disease-health

https://www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/ada-seal-faq