6 Best Floss Picks That Clean Teeth Quickly & Effectively

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best floss picks

If you earned a dime for every time a dental hygienist reminded you to floss – or told you that you could do a better job of flossing – you’d own an island by now with a fleet of yachts to get you there.

Truthfully, you don’t have any excuses for not flossing. It doesn’t take that long, it keeps you from getting all kinds of nasty tooth and gum diseases and keeps your smile looking good.

And, besides, there several options for flossing, including floss picks – which we’ll cover in this review.

Floss picks represent an effective way to floss, and there are plenty of quality picks on the market, including our top choice, DenTek’s Complete Clean Floss Picks .

We’ll review five other best floss picks and compare picks to traditional string floss and water flossers.

First, let’s start by discussing some floss pick buying tips:

Quick summary

bb2-table__imageDentek Complete Clean Floss Picks with Advanced Fluoride Coating
  • Extra strong floss
  • Perfectly suited for tight spaces
  • Easy to move around and within the teeth
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bb2-table__imageThe Humble Co. Natural Dental Floss Picks
  • Shred resistant, avoids hurting your mouth
  • Refreshing xylitol and mint scent
  • Made with corn starch, eco-minded company
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bb2-table__imagePlackers Micro Mint Dental Flossers
  • Glides nicely between teeth
  • Made by a specialist dental floss company
  • Consists of super strong Tuffloss
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bb2-table__imageFamilife Unflavored Dental Floss Picks
  • Handle is helpful and easy to use
  • Removes tricky food debris
  • High grade floss made of polymer
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bb2-table__imageGum Professional Clean Flossers
  • The "go to" floss for users with braces
  • Easy to hold handle
  • Strong and shred-resistant
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bb2-table__imageIsshah Natural Dental Floss Picks
  • Made from eco-friendly, bio-degradable corn starch
  • Strong action without shredding your teeth
  • Leaves a refreshing mint taste, good for bad breath
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Before you buy: 8 Things to consider when purchasing floss picks

There aren’t a lot of differences between the many floss picks available today, perhaps because they’re still fairly new when compared to other types of floss. There are, however, a few things to think about while you’re shopping for floss pick:

1. Disposable or refillable?

Disposable picks are meant to use only once, or at most, a few times before you toss them out. Like disposable razors, most come in a package with several floss picks.

Refillable picks, on the other hand, feature heads that allow you to remove the floss and replace it with a fresh strand.

2. The handles

Some floss picks come with no-slip grip handles that make them easier to hold. It’s a nice option to have, including if you have issues with manual dexterity.

3. High tech or no-tech?

There are battery-powered floss picks available that not only remove debris and plaque from between your teeth, but also massage the gums.

What’s on the bottom of the pick?

Many dental floss picks come with an ending that comes to a point and acts as a toothpick. Some even have an area that acts as a tongue scraper.

4. The shape

Dental floss picks typically come in two shapes: curved and flat. A flat floss pick looks like a harp but is harder to use in the back of your mouth.

6. The thickness of the floss

You may not have the luxury of choosing the thickness of the floss when buying disposable dental picks, but if you do (and if you use a refillable pick) choose a thicker floss if you have larger gaps between your teeth than normal.

7. Waxed or unwaxed

Waxed floss is easier to use if the spaces between your teeth are tighter, and if you have braces or other dental work. But many other users prefer unwaxed.

8. Look for ADA approval

Make sure that the floss you choose has the American Dental Association seal of approval. That means the ADA reviewed the product and deemed it effective and safe.

Now let’s take a look at our reviews of the best floss picks of 2020.

The 6 best floss picks in 2020

1.  DenTek Complete Clean Floss Picks with Advanced Fluoride Coating

DenTek Complete Clean Floss Picks

Tight teeth require tough floss. With DenTek’s Complete Clean Floss Picks – the best floss picks for tight teeth and our favorite for the best picks overall – you can floss between even the tightest of tight spaces.

What’s more, DenTek’s Complete Clean picks have stronger handles, which is a plus when dealing with tight spaces, as well as floss that’s guaranteed not to break – an even bigger plus.

Most of us understand the frustration that comes with breaking floss between our teeth and having to A) start over, and B) get the stuck piece of broken floss out from between our teeth.

That said, DenTek Complete Clean picks aren’t just for people with tight teeth because everyone will benefit from using them.

The floss is textured, with a unique criss-cross thread, and designed to pick up plaque and bits of food that stay stuck between your teeth.

The pick is flexible, which allows you to reach hard-to-get areas – always something to consider when choosing a floss pick – and also features a tongue scraper that allows you to remove surface debris.

While one would think that floss that’s guaranteed not to break would be a bit on the rough side, the DenTek floss is smooth and glides easily between your teeth. Just use a simple in-and-out motion to remove plaque and debris.

DenTek’s floss picks also have a cool, minty flavor that leaves your mouth feeling. Each pack comes with 75 floss picks.

Pros

  • Super-strong floss
  • Easy to maneuver between teeth
  • Great for tight spaces

Cons

  • Some reviewers didn’t like the design

Bottom Line

The DenTek Complete Clean floss pick is for people with tight spaces between their teeth but also for anyone who is looking for a thorough cleaning that removes even the most stubborn plaque and other debris.

2. The Humble Co. Natural Dental Floss Picks

The Humble Co. Natural Dental Floss Picks

Humble are on a mission: as they point out, dental care account for an absolutely monstrous amount of plastic usage.

And the thing is, that plastic needn’t be used! So they’ve developed some really brilliant, eco-friendly dental products, including these corn starch based floss picks.

For every purchase, they pledge to donate some of the proceeds to funding oral health project for children in need.

So there’s a good incentive to buy from Humble regardless of how well the picks actually work.

But the truth is, they’re just as good if not better than their plastic counterparts, so it’s all good really!

First, it’s worth noting that each packet of these picks comes with 50pcs, which will set you up for a good little while, making this a very economical purchase.

But on top of that, the picks are made with a double threading design, making flossing easy, even in those really hard to reach places. And the corn starch is incredibly tough, meaning they won’t break when you really dig down at the hard bits.

Perhaps most importantly, they are shred resistant, meaning they won’t chop up your mouth like some cheaper alternatives. And they’re coated with a lovely layer of xylitol and mint, giving them a really fresh flavour in your mouth – great for a morning routine!

Now, it is important to note that they do use Polypropylene as a binding agent, which is among the more environmentally friendly binding agents, but still means they do have an impact. That’s not to say Humble’s picks aren’t a net gain for the ecosystem – it’s just important to approach them with your eyes open!

Pros

  • Great business with good ethics
  • Very durable
  • Lovely fresh scent

Cons

  • Polypropylene, we guess – but that’s hardly a huge issue!

Bottom Line

Environmentally friendly floss picks from a company that genuinely seems to care. Lovely!

3. Plackers Micro Mint Dental Flossers

Plackers Micro Mint Dental Flossers

Plackers created the first dental flosser which earned a patent over 40 years ago. They’ve obviously come a long way since then – not that the first flosser was a bad product, mind you – and their Micro Mint Dental Flossers are among the best floss picks available.

They’re also among the strongest.

One of the key features of Plackers’ Micro Mint Dental Flossers is that their floss consists of Super Tuffloss, which is engineered never to break and considered to among the strongest floss on the shelves.

Not only won’t it break, but it won’t shed or stretch. Some say it’s so tough that it’s tough to cut with scissors.

The people at Plackers say that Super Tuffloss is only available in pick form because it’s too slippery to hold with your fingers and use in the traditional between-the-fingers way.

The floss, perhaps because of its slipperiness, slides easily between teeth to reach even the hardest-to-reach plaque and food particles while massaging the gums. The floss’s mint flavor leaves your mouth and gums feeling refreshed.

If you’re on the go and without access to your toothbrush, the Plackers’ flosser is a good option because of how easily it gets rid of food particles while refreshing your mouth.

The flosser also includes a toothpick that folds out from the handle and then folds back in to protect it when not in use.

Plackers’ products are manufactured by Placontrol, said to be the world’s largest manufacturer of dental floss. They put a lot of time, money, and research into their products while always striving to improve their existing floss products.

They also work with dental professionals and pharmacies to raise awareness of regular flossing and preventive dental care.

Plackers sells five other flosser styles:

  • Whitening Flosser with a right angle design
  • GentleSlide Flosser that slides smoothly between sensitive gums and tight teeth
  • GentleFine Flosser that includes a softer high-performance floss that especially gentle on gums (and also come with a fold-away pick)
  • OrthPick Flosser that features a thin flosser arm that slides between teeth and wires associated with braces and bridgework.
  • A KidsFlosser that comes in a fluoride-coated mixed berry flavor

Plackers also makes toothbrushes designed for children who are first learning to brush their teeth on their own, as well as night protectors that protect against night-time teeth grinding.

Pros

  • Made of extra-strength Tuffloss
  • Glide easily between teeth
  • Made by a company that specializes in floss

Cons

  • Some reviewers say the mint flavor doesn’t last long

Bottom Line

It’s hard to beat the Plackers Micro Mint Dental Flossers for all-around dental care, as well as all-around strength. You’re able to floss your entire mouth with one flosser and they’re great if you’re out and about and without access to a toothbrush.

4. FAMILIFE Unflavored Dental Floss Picks

Dental Floss Pick 240 Picks Threader Flosser with 4 Travel Case, FAMILIFE

One of the things that set FAMILIFE Dental floss picks apart from the others is that is its floss thread. The thread consists of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) that is said to be finer, slipperier, and tougher than most floss strings.

FAMILIFE’s floss also causes less friction – which means less potential damage to your teeth – and has a silky, comfortable feeling that’s more akin to floss tape than traditional string floss.

The FAMILIFE floss picks also come with a sturdy handle that’s easy to grip and doesn’t slip through your fingers while providing all of the support you need.

While you may not have heard of FAMILIFE, at least not to the extent that you’ve probably heard of Oral-B and others, it’s a major producer of dental floss and has approval from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. They distribute their products worldwide.

Of course, we wouldn’t consider a floss pick for our best-of reviews if it didn’t help keep teeth clean while removing food and plaque.

Rest assured, FAMILIFE’s floss provides thorough cleaning while the textured pick located at the bottom of the handle helps you get a deeper clean between teeth while stimulating your gums.

FAMILIFE Unflavored Dental Floss Picks also come with a handy travel case so you can use them while on the go.

Pros

  • High-quality floss made of polymer
  • Easy-to-manage handle
  • Removes stubborn food particles

Cons

  • Floss is a bit thick for some users

Bottom Line

FAMILIFE’s floss picks represent high quality and superb engineering and manufacturing. The floss is one-of-a-kind that provides a thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums.

5. GUM Professional Clean Flossers

GUM Professional Clean Flossers

You could say that the piece of floss is the most important part of the floss pick and not get much of an argument in return. But don’t forget about the handle.

The folks at GUM certainly haven’t, as evidenced by the thought and engineering they put into the handles of their Professional Clean Flossers.

The result is a handle that’s easier to grip, that has a widened finger rest for further comfort, and is easy to maneuver within your mouth as floss from tooth to tooth.

You’re also able to hold the floss at the right tension while sliding into position in your teeth and under your gumline. It’s no wonder why the GUM Professional Clean Flossers get hundreds of positive reviews.

Of course, the handle is only so good if the floss doesn’t hold up to a high standard, and GUM’s floss passes every test. Their floss has a satin-like finish that slides easily between the teeth and doesn’t break easily.

And, as good floss should, it protects your teeth against plaque and other bacteria that can lead to gingivitis and other dental problems.

Another reason we include this floss pick on our list is that the handle makes flossing easier for people who wear braces, have bridgework, or other types of dental work.

If you wear braces, or your child does, you understand the challenge of flossing around dental work.

Toothbrushes take care of some of the heavy lifting, as does traditional string floss, but there are all kinds of nooks and crannies where bacteria can hide.

For some people with braces, the challenge of flossing thoroughly sometimes becomes so heavy that they begin to consider whether they should floss at all.

Not to fear, however, because tools such as the GUM Professional Clean Flossers can help, thanks in part to the pick end of the handle that helps dislodge food particles between tight teeth.

Pros

  • Easy to grip handle
  • Among the best floss picks for braces
  • The floss is strong and shred-resistant

Cons

  • Some say the floss sags after one usage

Bottom Line

GUM flossers make flossing easier and work well for people with braces and other dental work. It’s simply a good all-around flosser that’s worth your investment.

6. Isshah Natural Dental Floss Picks

Isshah Natural Dental Floss Picks

Isshah’s Natural Dental Floss Picks are great for two reasons: they are exceptionally effective at getting to the tough bits, stimulating your gums and removing plaque; and they are entirely eco-friendly and environmentally sound.

First, the actual flossing:

They are designed to be unusually thin, which means you dig into the hardest part of your mouth, but also super resistant and tough. This means that they can slide between tight teeth without shredding and cutting, and never breaking like other flosses.

They are flavoured with just a hint of mint – nothing overpowering, but enough to get you feel healthier and fresher; they are easy to handle and rarely get tangled; and they come with a full guarantee, which is reassuring and relatively rare for a dental floss.

And then we come to the environmental stuff:

Isshah make their floss mainly from corn starch, which has minimal environmental impact as it is biodegradable. And they package their gloss in eco-friendly paper, which takes away another common eco-stressor.

What’s surprising is that, despite being eco-friendly, their corn starch floss is actually stronger than most plastics, which means you not only help the environment – you’re getting a better flossing experience because of it!

The overall experience is one of real cleanliness and freshness – you protect your teeth, avoid bad breath and help the planet out while you do it. Nice!

Pros

  • Highly durable and tough without shredding your teeth
  • Corn starch is eco-friendly and biodegradable, as is the packaging
  • Subtle, refreshing taste is minty without being obnoxious

Cons

  • Some don’t love paying more than 50 cents for floss, so they won’t be happy

Bottom Line

Environmentally friendly, great quality floss that will keep your teeth and the planet safe.

Using a floss pick: How it’s done (A simple, illustrated guide)

In some ways, using a floss pick is easier than using traditional dental floss. After all, you don’t have to wrap a length of floss around your finger and create a new, fresh length after you’ve flossed a couple of teeth.

Instead, picks hold the floss for you, which is a great convenience and helpful if you have limited hand dexterity due to arthritis or other health issues. And there’s nothing overly complicated about using them. Here the best way to floss with floss picks:

Step 1.

how-to-use-a-floss-pick-1

Hold the floss stick between your fingers with a firm grip to keep it from slipping. Some picks come with handles that making it easier to hold them.

Step 2.

how-to-use-a-floss-pick-2

Move the floss between your teeth with a gentle up and down motion. Don’t use too much force or you may cause soreness and bleeding gums. Use a gentle sawing motion as you work from one tooth to the next instead.

Step 3.

how-to-use-a-floss-pick-3

Let the floss wrap around your teeth while curving up into your gum line. Again, don’t force the floss up and into your gums, but use a motion that’s firm enough to remove plaque without irritating the tissue.

Step 4.

how-to-use-a-floss-pick-4

Don’t reuse your traditional floss pick! Sure, it’s tempting to use your pick more than once as a way to make your supply last longer but it’s not a good idea.

Bacteria and plaque build up on the floss and you’ll re-introduce them to your mouth if you use your pick multiple times.

Floss holders, however, are reusable because you’re threading your floss into the pick.

What’s the difference? Floss picks vs. dental floss vs. water flosser

String floss used to be the only game in town – or, at least the predominant one – before floss picks and water flossers gained popularity. Let’s not forget dental tape, either.

Dentists say they’re often asked what method is best, string floss or water floss. Some will answer by saying that whatever method works best for you and your teeth. All of them say it’s important to floss no matter what method you use.

Floss Picks

We’ve already talked at length about floss picks and what they are – a small, plastic device with a piece of dental floss threaded through its opening. They’re a newer kind of interdental cleaner but they’ve become popular because of their ease of use.

There’s no question that floss picks have many advantages that make them a good alternative to traditional string floss, including:

  • A flosser pick’s plastic handle makes it easier to hold and eliminates the need to wind and rewind the floss around your finger as you do with traditional string floss.
  • Flosser picks are portable and easy to keep in the office, in your purse, etc. Then again, traditional floss isn’t exactly hard to carry with you.
  • Floss picks are a good option for people who don’t have much dexterity in their hands because of arthritis or other issues.
  • Many floss picks come with a pick at the end that’s also useful for clearing away plaque and food particles lodged between your teeth. Some products even come with a pick that folds outward from the plastic housing.
  • Some users – and dental experts – say it’s easier to use floss picks to reach your back teeth than it is with string floss.
  • You can find floss picks made for children, which is a good way to get kids interested in flossing at a young age.

Are there drawbacks to using dental picks? There are, just as there are drawbacks to using traditional string floss and water flossers:

  • Floss picks may not be as thorough as string floss for removing food particles and other debris from between your teeth.
  • Floss picks may be a bit harsh on the sensitive gum tissue. You need to be gentler when using floss picks.
  • Many floss picks are made from disposable plastic and therefore not as eco-friendly.
  • Using a single floss pick for your entire mouth may simply redistribute particles and bacteria from one area of your mouth to the other. Unless you switch to another pick, you’ll use the same small segment of floss over and over again.

That’s not to say floss picks aren’t a good choice. Many people use them with good results and any dental professional will tell you that it doesn’t matter how you floss, as long as you do it.

String floss

The majority of people understand the importance of flossing, for most of us, when we think about flossing, we picture a small plastic box containing string floss. By know, millions of those small boxes have helped keep our gums healthy.

Here’s the scoop regarding string floss:

  • Flossing with string floss involves passing a thin piece of string between the teeth. The floss scrapes up and down the surface of each tooth to remove plaque and food particles, as well as under the gums.
  • String floss is fairly easy to use, although at some point in your life you may have had a hygienist or dentist tell you that you were flossing incorrectly (probably because, like most of us, you’re in a hurry or aren’t flossing enough).
  • String floss, like floss picks, doesn’t require a power source other than your hands. Water flossers either plug into electrical outlets or, in the case of faucet flossers, rely on your home’s water supply.
  • String floss, in general, takes more time to use than a water flosser and floss pick, if you’re flossing the correct way, that is.
  • Flossing with string is often difficult for people with dexterity issues or have problems with their hands caused by arthritis, etc.
  • People with sensitive gums may find that string floss is too harsh and often painful.
  • Individuals with braces may have a hard time dislodging food particles from their braces.
  • It can be difficult for some users of string floss to thoroughly clean between the teeth in the backs of their mouth.

Water flossers

For some, water flossers may seem like a new gem on the market, but the truth is, they go way back. The first water flosser was introduced in 1962. Since then, they have come a long way, for sure and the number of water flosser users keeps growing.

  • So, basically, water flosser is a device or faucet attachment that directs a steam of water on your gums and teets. The water pressure removes debris and plaque, unlike string flossing, water flossing doesn’t involve any scraping motion.
  • For people with sensitive gums or dental issues in general, water flossing can be a good alternative to string floss. Even gum health can be improved by the massaging action of the water flosser.
  • Water flossing takes significantly less time than string flossing, but that doesn’t mean you should rush through it.
  • Water flossing is a more gentle cleaning approach, compared to string flossing that can cause some bleeding of the gums.
  • Even though string flossing and water flossing use two different techniques, most of the users find water flossers really easy to adapt to. Some water flossers even come with built-in sensors that can tell you when you’ve flossed enough.
  • Water flosser can be an inconvenient thing to carry around, especially when it comes to travels. A small string container vs. a bulky machine? You see where am I going with this.
  • Water flossing is easily the most expensive option among floss picks, string floss, and dental tape.

Dental tape

There’s not much of a need to talk about dental tape in great detail because of its similarities with traditional string floss.

In short, dental tape is a flatter, stretchier version of string floss and preferred by some people because they feel it slides more easily between their teeth. Others say it doesn’t snap as harshly against the gums as string floss.

So, what’s the verdict? Floss picks? String floss? Water flossers? Dental tape?

First, keep something in mind: dentists and oral hygienist want you to floss. Regardless of which one of these you choose – floss pick, string gloss, a water flosser, floss tape, or all of the above.

Not flossing is not an option, dental professionals have done a lot of research, they have a ton of rotten and fell-out teeth – to back up their ultimatum.

Research does show, in some cases, if you choose to use a water flosser, it will be more effective when it comes to plaque removal and prevention of bleeding gums and gingivitis than flossing with a string.

There is a study, done by the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, where they found out that using the water flosser combined with a manual toothbrush has a 17% greater impact on plaque reduction compared to using just a string floss and a toothbrush.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t use string floss or floss picks or dental tape. On the contrary, floss picks and string floss is an effective way to clean your teeth and gums of the debris your toothbrush can’t reach.

If string floss represents your primary method, just make sure you’re doing it as effectively as possible.

Our reasons for choosing our top floss picks

We chose the above floss picks for our best-of reviews for a variety of reasons, including – of course – how effective they are for removing plaque and debris from the mouth. That’s the name of the game, after all.

Other factors we considered include ease-of-use (some reach harder-to-get areas of the mouth better than others), as well as the quality of floss. Floss that shred or broke easily fell off of our list quickly.

We also considered the handle and how easy it is to hold, and any additional features such as a toothpick included at the bottom of the handle.

Finally, we studied the reviews of others, particularly the reviews of customers.

Conclusion

Do you have a favorite floss pick? Have you tried any on your list? As always, we’d love to hear from you and welcome your comments and suggestions.


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About The Author

Domen Hrovatin
Domen Hrovatin

Domen—a self-confessed facial hair addict—is a grooming professional, style enthusiast, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about male pattern baldness. His work was mentioned in countless notable men's grooming and style publications, including Beardbrand and AskMen.

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