Despite NHS guidance recommending we clean between our teeth daily, according to a recent YouGov poll, only 31 per cent of us do so.
But what is the best product to use and how do you do it properly?
ADRIAN MONTI asked Mayur Pandya, a dentist and chief clinical officer of Together Dental dentist chain, to test some of latest options. We then rated them.
Despite NHS guidance recommending we clean between our teeth daily, according to a recent YouGov poll, only 31 per cent of us do so. But what is the best product to use and how do you do it properly?Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Boots Expert extra strong flossers, pack of 30, £2.50, boots.com
Boots Expert extra strong flossers
Claim: These flossers have two pieces of floss stretched across the head of a Y-shaped plastic holder ‘for improved cleaning to remove plaque and food particles’.
Expert verdict from Mayur Pandya: The problem with standard floss is that because it is essentially thin string, only a small surface area of the tooth is in contact with it. The fact that this has two strings would, in theory, improve the cleaning as the second piece would help catch any plaque that the first string misses.
This is thin enough for even the smallest spaces and is easy to use, which might get the most reluctant user to floss regularly. It is particularly good for those who have dexterity issues and older people with arthritis.
However, it won’t clean as well as an interdental brush. And because the floss itself is thin, you’d probably use it once or twice at most before discarding — a downside, as it creates a lot of plastic waste.6/10 Long-handle brushes
Curaprox prime start, £8, curaprox.co.uk
Curaprox prime startInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Claim: This contains five brushes with ‘ultrafine’ bristles to ‘clean every inch of the critical interdental space [between the teeth]’ while ‘providing effective prevention against inflammation and bad breath’, the maker says. You also get long plastic ‘holders’ that the tiny brushes click into, to make it more convenient.
Expert verdict: Even if we use an electric toothbrush, we are only cleaning the surfaces of our teeth and neglect the spaces between them. But it is at these contact points between our teeth that decay starts due to a build-up of plaque, a sticky deposit in which bacteria can flourish. That is why cleaning between the teeth should be a once-daily ritual.
This product is excellent — I especially liked the L-shaped handle for reaching the back teeth, which can sometimes be tricky with traditional floss. I also liked that it had reusable handles.
However, all of the brushes in one pack are the same size. The maker also has a starter pack with various brush sizes, which is a good idea to try first in order to find the size that’s best for you.9/10 'Expanding' floss
Nano Floss with micro-riser technology, £4.95, 25m, whitewashnano.co.uk
Nano Floss with micro-riser technology
Claim: This floss is made of a ‘micro-fibre thread which expands between teeth due to the mechanical action of flossing’, the maker says. It is coated in hydroxyapatite, a mineral that helps build tooth enamel, and xylitol, a sweetener, ‘to provide an anti-bacterial effect’. The maker claims it has also been clinically tested and found to remove ‘up to 40 per cent more plaque compared to traditional flosses’.
Expert verdict: This floss is green and is slightly textured, made up of numerous fibres rather than the typical waxy surface you get with standard floss. Textured floss might be harder to slide between teeth at first, but once in will do a more effective job of cleaning in between teeth as the fibres expand and maximise the surface area cleaned. This floss felt like it expanded as I flossed.
Both hydroxyapatite and xylitol are useful in theory, but will largely be cleaned away through the flossing action. It’s a bold claim that it is proven to remove up to 40 per cent more plaque than other flosses — I couldn’t find the research to support this.7/10 Silicone toothpicks
TePe Easypick, pack of 36, £3.99, superdrug.com
Claim: Described as ‘the next generation toothpicks’, these flexible silicone ones have ‘overlapping conical sizes to fit narrow as well as wide spaces’.
Expert verdict: These