Floss with Fluoride?

A few years back the oral hygiene company Reach created floss with a Fluoride coating on it. You might thinking to yourself that this miraculous floss product could solve all of your life’s problems, or at least your tooth-related problems. However, what sounds like a brilliant idea turned out to be more about marketing than function.

Flossing is critical when it comes to a healthy mouth. As you may know, fluoride is an anti-cavity agent that is used to convert hydroxyapatite (a natural tooth mineral) into fluorapatite, which is much more durable and useful. Ok, you probably didn’t know that. Unless you happen to actually be a dentist. But just like in our last post, you can easily impress your dentist if you memorize these words and pretend like you knew them all along.

Anyway, for fluoride to work effectively, it must get in contact with as much of the surface of the tooth as possible. However, floss is unable to do this. Floss is used to break up plaque and bacterial colonies between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. While the floss is in between your teeth, it will be squishing bacteria and scrubbing plaque, and not depositing the fluoride. Even if some fluoride was deposited, it is very likely to be a negligible amount and not enough to make a real difference.

This is why Fluoride has been put in products like tap water, mouthwash and toothpaste – these products that will actually get in contact with your teeth and make a difference in the long run.