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What are the Pros and Cons of Waxed Floss?

By Mandi Rogier
Updated May 21, 2024
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Dental floss comes in many types, but one of the most noticeable varieties of floss features a wax coating. Waxed floss has many advantages, as the slick coating can make it easier to use in many ways. For some users, however, this thicker floss may not be suitable for the configuration of the teeth.

Waxed floss has a coating of wax covering a thin nylon string. Depending on the exact type of floss you are using, the wax may be flavored to make flossing more pleasant. The wax coating on the floss can serve many purposes.

Floss with a wax coating tends to be sturdier than unwaxed floss. For those who have small spaces, sharp corners, or awkward angles to deal with when flossing the teeth, this added strength may be beneficial. It can help prevent the floss from fraying or breaking while it is in use.

Those with braces often prefer waxed floss for this reason. The metal fixtures on braces can easily snag unwaxed floss. Waxed floss is also stiffer and may be easier to thread around braces and other dental fixtures.

Another pro of waxed floss is its slippery texture. The wax makes it easier for this type of floss to slide between the teeth. This can be useful for those with teeth that are set very close together. However, some individuals may prefer unwaxed floss for a similar reason, because the uncoated floss is slightly thinner and therefore easier to fit into small spaces. The final choice in this area will depend on personal preference and the performance of various flosses in one’s individual case.

A con to waxed floss is the texture. Some individuals may find the waxy feel of the floss disturbing. It may also be more difficult to grip tightly, depending on the way one holds the floss.

When selecting floss, it is also important to consider other variations aside from the coating. Those with very large spaces between their teeth should consider using dental tape instead of dental floss. This option is much wider and can remove plaque from spaces that regular dental floss would only graze. Selecting floss with a flavor such as mint or cinnamon can make flossing more enjoyable, and provide a refreshing clean feeling.

Regardless of the specific type of floss chosen, dentists strongly recommend daily flossing for all individuals. Flossing helps to remove plaque and trapped food particles, and is an important step in preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

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Discussion Comments

By JaneAir — On Sep 14, 2011

@JessicaLynn - I think I know what type of floss you're talking about. I actually tried that kind and I feel like it kept sort of snagging on my teeth.

I feel like waxed floss is definitely the way to go. That's the kind I've been using for quite awhile, and I will continue to use it. It works great and comes in a few different flavors!

By popcorn — On Sep 14, 2011

@manykitties2 - I also use Reach dental floss waxed and it works quite well for me. Though I actually get mine on sale at a local discount store, so buying it at a low price is a no-brainer.

The Reach waxed floss is actually one of about two or three brands that I bounce between. I don't really have any loyalty when it comes to my dental flosses, all I ask is that it doesn't break when I am cleaning my teeth.

Has anyone come across a brand of dental floss that you thought was really amazing? Why did you like it?

To be honest, I wish they would start making more flavors. Mint is getting really boring these days.

By JessicaLynn — On Sep 13, 2011

@hamje32 - I had a lot of dental work done when I was younger too so I know where you're coming from. Now I even carry a toothbrush and dental floss in my purse when I'm on the go so I can brush and floss right after eating.

Waxed floss isn't really my favorite though. I forget who puts it out, but there is this one kind of floss I really like. It has a couple of different strands of floss braided together, but the floss stretches out to be really thin. It's fluoridated and flavored so it tasted good and adds some extra protection for my teeth!

By manykitties2 — On Sep 12, 2011

When I was a teenager I had braces and my orthodontist recommended that I use tooth floss. He actually recommended waxed floss because he felt that it would be easier to work with around all of the metal I had in my mouth.

I found that the waxed floss really helped me to reach all the tough spots between my teeth, and it didn't snag as easily, or break like the cheaper floss.

I must say that Reach floss is probably one of my favorite brands because it is inexpensive and it works quite well. I suppose I am a bit biased though because my dentist still gives me free samples of it whenever I go in for work.

By candyquilt — On Sep 12, 2011

I don't think that waxed floss has any cons. I always use waxed floss because I like how easily it slides between teeth and it also has a nice minty fresh flavor.

I have used unwaxed floss before and it was so hard on my teeth! I guess I have really close fitting teeth because the unwaxed floss would always get stuck between my teeth and I had to do so much pulling and tagging to get it out.

Waxed floss works much better for me and I like the waxed texture and flavor much better.

By David09 — On Sep 12, 2011

@hamje32 - I’ve used all kinds of floss, and they all work the same for me.

Lately I’ve been buying the mint waxed floss. The mint taste leaves a good feeling in my mouth although it really adds nothing to the quality of the floss.

One thing I’d like to point out, however, is that floss is not simply meant to remove food particles from between your teeth or gum lines. Rather, it’s meant to be used as a way to stimulate your gums.

Sometimes before I floss I will even massage my gums first, so that the flossing becomes more effective. At other times I will dip the floss in mouthwash too.

All of these techniques help stimulate the gums and kill more food particles and bacteria. Do these simple tips, and I guarantee that you’ll get better results with your flossing and your dentist will be pleasantly surprised.

By hamje32 — On Sep 11, 2011

@MrMoody - As a kid I was never taught to floss or brush properly, and as a result I had a lot of work done on my teeth by the time I was a teenager. I’m talking about very deep steel fillings, cavities, and I was very close to having a root canal done.

As a parent I am very conscientious about flossing, not only for myself, but for my children as well. We instill these values in them.

For my young boy, I have been having him use the floss picks. These are picks with short pieces of floss stretched across them. They provide the needed tension in the floss so that he can scrape between his teeth to remove the particles out, and of course they also have tooth picks too. The dentist is always recommending the use of the tooth picks.

They work great, and it's gotten to where he is always looking to use them right after he eats.

By MrMoody — On Sep 11, 2011

I have never liked waxed gum floss. I don’t know if it’s a quality issue, since the article makes clear that it works just as well as any other kind of floss.

But for me waxed floss doesn’t scrape hard enough against the teeth and into the gum lines. It’s almost as if it’s just polishing my teeth, which is not what I need.

I do have a few teeth that are very cramped together and the unwaxed floss works fine for me, so long as I hold the floss tight and pull it up and down.

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