Believe it or not, researchers have compared different types of dental floss to determine whether some are more effective than others to clean teeth. The bottom line is that they are not. Any type of floss will help promote clean teeth by removing food particles and bacteria.
In one study conducted by periodontists at the University of Buffalo, 60 adults with mild gingivitis were divided into two groups. One group was instructed to use a nylon waxed dental floss and the other group was instructed to use a wide polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) floss. The study participants' teeth were evaluated at the start of the study and again after two weeks, five weeks and six weeks. At each visit, the participants' teeth were evaluated for plaque, gingivitis and gum bleeding. At the fifth week, the groups switched to using the other type of floss so the researchers could determine whether the participants had a preference for one type.
Overall, the researchers found that both types of floss were similarly effective in reducing plaque and improving gum health. But 75 percent of the participants preferred the PTFE floss and only 25 percent preferred the nylon floss.
If you are new to flossing, or if you have sensitive gums, you may want to start with PTFE floss, such as Crest's Glide floss, which is softer than a traditional nylon floss to slide more easily between the teeth and is less likely to break or shred than a nylon floss.