Best floss picks and how to use them

It’s important to floss regularly and correctly to maintain good oral hygiene and avoid gum disease. Floss picks can be used as an alternative to either string floss or water flossers in your oral cleansing regime.

Here’s everything you need to know about floss picks; their benefits, the best floss pick, floss picks vs string floss, and more!

What are floss picks?

Floss picks, also known as floss sticks, are small pieces of plastic with a line of string floss threaded through. They’re an alternative to string floss or water flossers. They come in all shapes and sizes. Most come to a sharp point at one end which helps to pick pieces of food out from between your teeth. Things to bear in mind when choosing a floss pick include the shape and size of the handle – the longer it is, the easier it is to reach in and effectively clean around each tooth.

Flat versus curved:

Curved floss picks are generally more effective at cleaning out your teeth than flat ones since they curve around to reach each tooth better.

Don’t forget:

Floss picks shouldn’t be confused with waterpiks. Whilst waterpiks are a quick and effective way of flossing, floss picks can be thought of as string floss that’s easier to handle.

Benefits of floss picks – should you use them?

  • They’re easy to use. Traditional string floss can be fiddly. And reaching into your mouth to effectively floss the back teeth can be quite difficult. Thanks to its handle, this is substantially easier when using a floss pick.
  • They’re 2-in-1. Yes, flossing is the main use for a floss pick. But the clue’s in the name: pick. As well as string floss, you have the addition of a plastic pick, which you don’t get with any other kind of flosser.
  • They’re less messy than string floss. Honestly, string floss can be gross. It’s no fun to be flossing with smelly plaque on your fingers. With a floss pick, the handle provides a clean solution.

There are benefits to using floss picks, but ultimately, it’s a matter of preference. If floss picks work best for you, then stick to them!

Best floss picks

How to use floss picks

  1. Holding the stick, slide the floss between your teeth.
  2. Move gently up and down. It’s important that you’re not too rough – vigorous flossing can cause sore gums.
  3. Let the floss wrap around your teeth. Make sure it curves below the gum line, too!
  4. Use the pick end to gently slide between each tooth.

The principles of flossing effectively still apply when using a floss pick instead of string floss, so make sure you know how to floss correctly before starting!

Can you reuse floss picks?

The short answer is no. While it may be tempting to use a floss pick more than once, it’s a very bad idea. This is because bacteria and plaque which may be initially dislodged by the floss pick can be reintroduced in other areas in the mouth.  This can lead to more plaque.

While floss picks themselves aren’t reusable, there are similar devices which are. These are called “floss holders”. However, they’re a bit tricky and involve threading your own floss into a piece of plastic. Furthermore, these aren’t designed to be as effective as floss picks, so they’re generally more hassle for less results.

Top tip: if you’re concerned about the effect that your floss waste is having on the environment, consider trying out a water flosser. Unlike floss picks and string floss, they’re reusable!

Floss picks vs string floss

Floss picksString floss
Easier to get to the difficult parts in your mouthIt’s flexible
Easier to holdCan be easily adjusted to effectively floss each tooth
You don’t have to touch any of the plaqueDoesn’t use the same piece of floss continuously – avoids spreading bacteria
Often easier for kidsLess waste

There isn’t a huge amount of difference between using floss picks and string floss. Generally speaking, picks are easier to use, purely because they have a handle. Despite this, string floss on its own is more flexible and therefore often more effective when flossing teeth.

Floss picks for kids

Flossing isn’t just hard for adults, it’s difficult for kids too.

Floss picks are substantially easier for children to use: rather than fiddly string, they get a firm handle to hold. This makes it easier to reach teeth at the back of the mouth.


Floss picks are a useful way of flossing effectively. If you find string floss fiddly or have kids who hate flossing, it’s worth trying them out. However, they do have a negative impact on the environment since they are single-use plastic devices. So, if you’re concerned about your environmental impact, they may not be your favorite option.

It’s more important for your oral health to make sure that you’re flossing regularly and correctly than it is to use a specific kind of flosser. Your choice of the flosser you use is up to you: if floss picks work for you, go ahead and use them!

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