How To Choose Between Dental Tape, Floss, And Interdental Brushes?

When it comes to oral care, we all want to make the right choices for our pearly whites. But with so many options available, how do you decide between dental tape, floss, and interdental brushes? Well, fear not, because we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re going to break down the pros and cons of each tool, helping you navigate the world of interdental cleaning with confidence and a smile on your face. So, grab your toothbrush and let’s get started!

Factors to Consider

When it comes to maintaining good oral hygiene, choosing the right dental cleaning tool is essential. Factors to consider include the frequency and ease of use, effectiveness, cost, and personal preference. Each option – dental tape, floss, and interdental brushes – has its own unique characteristics, pros, and cons. By understanding these factors, you can make an informed decision and adopt the appropriate oral hygiene practice.

Dental Tape

Dental tape is a thin, flat ribbon made from nylon or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). It is similar to traditional dental floss but wider, often measuring 2-4 millimeters in width.


  • Dental tape is wider than traditional floss, making it ideal for individuals with wider gaps between their teeth.
  • It has a smooth texture, which allows for easy maneuvering between teeth.
  • Some dental tapes are waxed, enhancing their ability to glide smoothly between teeth.
  • Dental tape is suitable for people with sensitive gums or orthodontic appliances.


  • The wider surface area of dental tape provides thorough cleaning for larger gaps between the teeth.
  • Its smooth texture allows for gentle and comfortable cleaning, reducing the risk of gum irritation.
  • Dental tapes are often easier to handle and control, especially for individuals with dexterity issues.
  • They can effectively remove plaque and food particles from between teeth and along the gumline.


  • Dental tapes may not fit easily into tight spaces, making it less effective for individuals with very narrow gaps between their teeth.
  • It may be more expensive than traditional floss or interdental brushes.
  • Some individuals may find the wide nature of dental tape uncomfortable or cumbersome to use.


Traditional dental floss is a thin thread, typically made from nylon or silk, that is used to clean between the teeth. It is available in both waxed and unwaxed forms.


  • Dental floss is thin and flexible, allowing it to reach narrow spaces between teeth.
  • It comes in various thicknesses, such as regular floss, extra-thin floss, and super floss, making it suitable for different interdental spaces.
  • Waxed floss glides easily between teeth, while unwaxed floss provides a firmer grip.
  • Some dental floss options have added flavors or coatings to enhance the user experience.


  • Dental floss can effectively remove plaque and food debris from tight spaces, even between closely spaced teeth.
  • It is suitable for people with braces or dental work, as the thin nature of floss can navigate around wires, brackets, and other orthodontic appliances.
  • Regular flossing with dental floss helps prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.
  • It is relatively inexpensive, making it a cost-effective choice for oral hygiene.


  • Flossing may require more manual dexterity and technique compared to other options.
  • Individuals with sensitive gums may find flossing uncomfortable or irritating.
  • Flossing may be less effective in cleaning wider gaps between teeth or removing plaque under the gumline.
  • Some people may find flossing time-consuming or inconvenient.

Interdental Brushes

Interdental brushes, also known as interproximal brushes, are small, cone-shaped brushes designed to clean between teeth and around orthodontic appliances. They are available in various sizes to accommodate different interdental gaps.


  • Interdental brushes consist of a handle and a small brush head. The brush head is typically made of nylon bristles.
  • The brush heads come in different sizes to fit varying gaps between teeth.
  • The bristles of interdental brushes are designed to effectively clean the sides of teeth and remove debris.
  • Interdental brushes are often recommended for individuals with large interdental spaces or gum recession.
  • They are available in various angles, including straight, right-angled, and tapered, for easy accessibility.


  • Interdental brushes are effective in removing plaque, food particles, and bacteria from hard-to-reach places between teeth.
  • They are easy to use and provide a more comfortable experience for individuals with orthodontic appliances or loose teeth.
  • The variety of sizes and angles allows for a customized cleaning experience, accommodating different interdental spaces.
  • Interdental brushes are reusable, making them a cost-effective option over time.


  • Individuals with very tight spaces between their teeth may find it challenging to use interdental brushes effectively.
  • The bristles of interdental brushes may be too large or abrasive for individuals with sensitive gums.
  • It may take some practice to learn the correct technique for using interdental brushes.
  • Interdental brushes may not be as readily available as other options and may require specialized purchasing.

When to Use Each Option

Determining when to use dental tape, floss, or interdental brushes depends on specific dental needs and preferences. Here are some guidelines to help you make the right choice:

Tight spaces

If you have tight spaces between your teeth, using dental floss would be the best option. Its thin and flexible nature allows it to slip into narrow gaps and remove plaque effectively.

Gaps between teeth

For individuals with wider gaps between their teeth, dental tape is the recommended choice. The wider ribbon-like texture provides thorough cleaning for larger interdental spaces.

Braces or dental work

When you have braces, wires, or other orthodontic appliances, interdental brushes may be the most suitable option. Their small brush heads can navigate around the apparatus and clean between teeth effectively.

Gum sensitivity

If you have sensitive gums, dental tape or interdental brushes may be more comfortable options. Their wider surfaces and softer bristles can provide a gentler cleaning experience, minimizing potential irritation.

Ultimately, the choice between dental tape, floss, and interdental brushes is a personal one. It’s essential to consider your specific dental needs and preferences. Consult with your dentist or dental hygienist to determine which option is most suitable for you. Remember, regular cleaning between teeth is crucial for maintaining optimal oral health, so find a method that you are comfortable with and commit to it for healthy, happy smiles!