Waxed vs Unwaxed Dental Floss

Woman flossing teeth

We flossers are faced with two main choices when it comes to cleaning between our teeth: waxed vs unwaxed dental floss. But which is better? In this article. we’ll get into the nooks and crannies (pun intended) to answer once and for all: is waxed dental floss better—and if so, which type?

Dental Floss: Why Are There Two Types?

Many of us know that flossing is essential. Some of us are correcting the practices we were taught as children and now know how to use dental floss (flossing before brushing!). But have you ever thought about the different types of floss and which one may be better for you?

When it comes to conventional floss, it starts out as a skinny thread. In some cases, a thin layer of wax is added to its surface, making it waxed dental floss.  Unwaxed dental floss is the type without the additional layer of wax. 

Waxed vs Unwaxed Dental Floss

While waxed floss is thicker, the wax also makes it easier to glide between teeth. Because of the wax layer, waxed floss may be more suitable for those with tightly spaced teeth. Wax acts as a lubricant, meaning that it makes it easier for the floss to fit into tight spaces between teeth. 

Waxed floss also tends to be more durable than its unwaxed counterpart, meaning that it’s less likely to snap in between molars or while removing that stuck-in spinach from your front teeth. In some cases, the waxed floss is also flavored—which might make it a tastier experience for those who tend to skip this essential step in the oral care routine! 

When it comes to how to use waxed dental floss, the process is the same as it is with unwaxed floss. However, those with braces may find waxed floss easier to navigate between wires and brackets. Similarly, waxed floss may be far more comfortable for children who are new to the oral care practice. 

So what’s the deal with unwaxed floss? It’s still capable of thoroughly cleaning the areas a toothbrush is unable of reaching. It’s still great at preventing the buildup of plaque and lowering risk of gum irritation and disease. Without the wax though, it’s thinner, which may make it more comfortable and easier to pull between teeth. However, its thinness may make it more prone to breaking—which is the last thing you’d want when trying to build up your flossing routine!

Which Type of Floss is Best?

As we just highlighted, different types of floss may be preferred for different types of mouths. There’s no hard and fast rule regarding which type is better, as one study found that waxed and unwaxed floss performed the same as far as plaque removal and gingivitis prevention go. However, what this and similar studies have found is that flossing is far better for our mouths than teeth brushing alone! 

So, if you want to treat your mouth well, be sure to floss. If you want to treat it to the best, consider exactly how that waxed floss is made—and with what.    

What Type of Wax is Used

Conventional flossing products might not be the best for your mouth—and they certainly aren’t the best for our planet. Not only is the floss itself often made with polyester filaments or nylon (AKA fossil fuels), but when it’s waxed, it often comes from microcrystalline wax. 

Microcrystalline wax, FYI, is often made from the residue of crude petroleum that’s left over in the refining process. 

To top it off (literally), it may be blended with gum arabic (a binder), artificial sweeteners like acesulfame, glycerin, natural and artificial flavor, coolants, artificial colors, and a range of unpronounceable chemicals. 

We know flossing is important, but who wants to get potentially dangerous ingredients that close to our gentle gums? Fortunately, there are other types of wax that can be used for floss. 

Natural Wax Dental Floss is Better

Instead of fossil fuels, corn PLA (a plant-based plastic), silk, and bamboo fiber can be used for the floss. Instead of petroleum sludge (gross), some eco-friendly oral care brands are making use of beeswax, candelilla wax, or rice bran wax to add a little thickness to their natural wax dental floss

These natural alternatives to waxed floss are often combined with other teeth-supporting ingredients like essential oils, coconut oil, and activated charcoal. And the benefits of activated charcoal dental floss are many! 

Not only is it made from easy-to-recognize ingredients that aren’t sourced from an oil refinery, but they’re also known to rid the mouth of bad bacteria and toxins, supporting gum health. Because it’s black, activated charcoal floss also makes it easy to see what’s being removed with every glide. 

It isn’t just humans who benefit from natural, bamboo-based floss. Our planet wins, too! Because the floss starts out as bamboo fiber and only natural, plant-based ingredients are added—including vegan candelilla wax—theBrilliant Black Dental Floss from Terra & Co. is 100% biodegradable. Did we mention it comes in a recycled and recyclable paper box—not a difficult-to-recycle plastic container? 

This black waxed floss is Earth-friendly, gum-friendly, and smile-friendly. What more could you want in a pack of dental floss?  

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