How To Use a Floss Pick

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Are you unsure of how to use a floss pick?

There is no doubt that flossing is an essential part of maintaining your oral health. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), everybody should floss at least once a day to prevent tooth decay, tartar, gum disease, and other dental issues.

But it is also a fact that not everybody loves it. Some people still struggle when they use regular dental floss because they have a hard time maneuvering it around their teeth. If you are one of these people, you should consider using floss picks instead.

Floss picks are easier to handle because you can grip something solid. Plus they are small and slim enough for you to bring with you anywhere.

But what are floss picks? How do you use a floss pick? Are they better than dental floss? And most of all, are they a great alternative for those who do not like dental floss? In this article, we will answer all of these questions and more.

What is a floss pick?

A floss pick is a D-shaped piece of plastic that comes with a short pointed handle. The D-shaped plastic holds a short, stretched piece of dental floss. With the handle, you have a better grip when it comes to sliding the floss between your teeth.

How to use a floss pick

Believe it or not, people have trouble using a floss pick for the first time. It actually can be confusing – do you floss up and down or side to side? The right answer is to do both to clean at least most surfaces of your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach.

Here are some general steps that you can follow:

  1. Slide the floss part or string of the floss pick between your teeth.
  2. Let the string curve around the tooth until it forms a “c” shape.
  3. Start moving the string from the highest point of the tooth, where it makes contact with the gum then move the handle from side to side to remove plaque buildup.
  4. Rinse the string when you are done with the upper teeth and then repeat the steps for your lower teeth.

Is it better to use floss picks or traditional dental floss?

Floss picks have the great benefit of giving the user a better grip, which is great for those who have arthritis or other dexterity problems. They also are easier to use especially for cleaning the back teeth. Plus you do not have to frequently wind and then unwind sections of the dental floss with your fingers as you go about it.

But flossing picks also has their disadvantages. The number one disadvantage is that there is a huge chance that you end up redistributing bacteria. This is because the floss pick only has a small amount of dental floss in it and you are using it for your entire mouth.

Another is that you do not really get to practice proper flossing technique since the piece of floss is fixed. Most people find it difficult to clean below the gum line since the piece of floss can only do a limited curve compared to the flexibility of a regular floss.

Although floss picks are better than nothing at all, dental health professionals would agree that traditional floss is the better choice if you compare the two.

Traditional floss prevents the redistribution of bacteria because you get to use a fresh and clean segment as you move around your mouth. Plus traditional dental floss can be bent and curved at a wide variety of angles, making it possible for you to work on the spots that are usually hard to reach.

But if you despise flossing or find it hard to do, you can use floss picks from time to time. Just do not rely on it entirely for your flossing needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it OK to use floss picks?

Floss picks are great and handy in situations when you are always on the go since they are small and slim enough to put in your wallet, purse, or pockets. Just do not totally rely on them for your flossing needs. They are great for use from time to time or occasional use. They are not ideal for everyday oral hygiene routines.

Should I use floss picks before or after brushing?

It is more effective to use floss picks first before brushing your teeth. Floss removes plaque and any food particles stuck between the teeth so when those are cleared, your toothpaste can do its job right away when you brush your teeth. The same goes for traditional floss.

What is the back of the floss pick for?

The other end of the floss pick or the pointed part of the handle is actually used in place of a wooden toothpick. So, if you notice that you have large food particles stuck along the gum line or between your teeth, you can use that part of the floss pick.

Can I reuse my dental floss picks?

Floss picks are meant to be disposable so you should only use them once and then dispose of them. If reused, the floss can deteriorate and in worse-case scenarios, it may even pick up bacteria.

There are floss picks meant to be reused wherein you have to restring them with traditional dental floss after using but it’s not the most hygienic solution due to the same reason given above.


Some people find flossing to be tedious and unpleasant. And most people would not dare do it in public. But flossing plays a vital role when it comes your oral health routine and maintaining your teeth.

Remember that flossing can sometimes be the only way to remove pieces of food that get stuck in between your teeth. It also helps prevent plaque buildup so you do not have to worry about tartar or other dental issues.

Your oral health matters because having a periodontal disease or gum disease often leads to other health problems so basically, you are flossing for your overall health too. Flossing correctly can make a huge difference.

Now that you know how to use a floss pick, you can floss properly and keep your teeth clean even on a busy day. Floss picks are not only convenient but also are a great temporary solution if you need to floss real quick.

But take note that dental experts only recommend them for temporary use. If you still have problems with your daily flossing, do no hesitate to get an appointment today and talk about it with your dentist.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.