Dental Tape: Types, Uses, and Modifications

Almost all of us have visited a dentist, maybe for some dental issue or general routine dental check-up. And all of us know that brushing twice a day is necessary for healthy teeth and gums. But let me tell you that just brushing is not enough, flossing is also pivotal for proper oral hygiene maintenance. Most of us know about the flossing, but not everyone does it. Maybe due to laziness or improper technique or maybe lack of knowledge, people skip the step of flossing. But flossing your teeth is very important as it provides following benefits

  • It prevents the accumulation of bacterias over your teeth.
  • It prevents bad breath by cleaning the bacterial substance.
  • It prevents gum disease, as floss can deep clean the gums where the bristles of the brush are unable to reach.

Dental Floss

You all must have used or heard about the dental floss. The dental floss is the thread like substance used to clean the space between two teeth (interdental space). The first patent dental floss was introduced by Johnson and Johnson. It is recommended to use dental floss daily to avoid any kind of problems related to increased bacterial plaque deposition on the teeth.

The increased awareness about oral health has made it quite common and almost everyone knows about the dental floss and its uses. But today we are here not to just explain about dental floss but its modified version which is known as dental tape.

Guys, it is easy to use the dental floss in normal teeth which are tightly placed. But for the people who are having spaces in between the teeth, it is quite difficult to use the dental floss to clean the interdental area. As the space between the teeth make it difficult to fit the floss and it is loose in between them and is inefficient in its work. So for those people, a modified version of the dental floss is made which is known as dental tape.

What is Dental Tape

It is basically a wide floss which is used when the spacing is present in between the teeth, similar to the dental floss the dental tape is made up of nylon material or polythene material which are waxed to slide between the spaced teeth. It is wider and covers more surface area of teeth.

Dental Tape

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Types of Dental Tape

The dental tape can be of 2 types. One is waxed dental tape and another is a non-waxed dental tape.

The waxed dental tape has a layer of wax over it which make it easier to slide in between the teeth. And the opposite of this, the non-waxed dental tape lacks the layer of wax over it which cause bit rough movement of the dental tape in interdental space.

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Difference between the Dental Tape and Dental Floss

Basically, both have the same functions of cleaning the interdental teeth. But the difference is present related to its shape and sizes.

As we know that the dental floss is very thin and can slide in between the teeth which are tightly bound also. But the dental tape is thick and wide because it is specially modified for the widely spaced teeth.

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How to use Dental Tape

Dental tapes are also used in a similar manner as the floss. The dental tapes are more stretchable then the floss. The floss might break when increased pressure is applied over floss but dental tapes are much more reliable.

Dental Tape

While using in upper teeth the dental tapes are pushed in the interdental area and then in a downward motion while touching the surface of the tooth. Similarly, it is pushed downwards in lower teeth and then in an upward motion. Never rub floss or dental tape in to and fro motion in the interdental area, as it can damage the gingival tissues.

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How Often to Use It

The American dental association has suggested that flossing once a day is optimal to keep your gums free of disease. So if you are using dental tape instead of floss it goes the same for that too.

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Other Modifications of Dental Floss

Now you have an idea about the dental tapes and also know that this is a modified version of dental floss, let me tell you about some other modifications of dental floss which is helpful in different conditions.

Super Flosser

This is the floss in which there is one stiff end which helps to enter the floss at tight areas, then there is simple floss which extends into a thick floss which cleans under the bridges and on the braces very efficiently. This type of floss specifically modified for the people having bridges and braces as it is difficult to floss with normal floss.

Electric Flosser

In this, the floss is automatically vibrated in between the interdental space. This is very useful for the ones who have difficulties in using floss with proper technique. But has a disadvantage that if it is used excessively then it can alter the gum line and due to which it must be used carefully.

Water flosser

This is a good option for the patients having braces on. In this, a thin stream of water is used to clean the interdental space. This is very helpful for orthodontic patients and for persons who are unable to floss due to any condition. But it needs equipment and electric and water supply so may be unable to use while traveling.

So this was all about the dental tape. Hope it helped and if you have any query or suggestions you can ask in the comment section below. Remember to floss once daily either by dental floss or any of its modification products so that you can stay away from most of the oral problems.

Dr Deepak Kansal is a dentist, who is currently working in Sri Ganganagar. He did his Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Rajasthan University of Health Science.

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