Many of us in the dental profession are mourning the loss of Gentle Gum Care woven floss (formerly made by Reach, then Listerine). It’s been the profession’s favorite (my opinion) for years. It’s been MIA for several months now. No one knows what happened to it- you just can’t find it anywhere. So what’s the best alternative? I decided to try out a few potential candidates.

Cocofloss (26 cents/yd)- good sturdy floss, slightly coarse texture, medium thickness, subtle coconut flavor.

Dr. Tung’s Smart Floss (14.4 cents/yd)- thickest of the bunch, very soft texture, slight cardamom flavor.

Xlent Expandable Floss with Charcoal (~10 cents/meter)- medium thickness, waxy texture, nice mint flavor.

Hayden Expanding Floss (~10.5 cents/yard)- only slightly thicker than normal floss, medium texture, subtle mint flavor.

First a word about expandable flosses- they only expand when you are not pulling on them. But flossing involves pushing and pulling and scraping up and down. You can’t floss your teeth effectively without putting tension on the floss. So when you’re flossing, they are not expanded. All four of these flosses splay a bit when flossing, to look more like ribbon. The thicker the floss, the more it splays.

So which do I like the best? I like Dr. Tung’s. I love the thickness and the soft, fluffy texture. And I happen to like cardamom, though I will admit it’s not as refreshing as mint. It is a bit more expensive than the cheaper flosses in the group, but not on the level of Cocofloss. I think it’s worth the extra pennies. Cocofloss is good if you want a coarser texture to make it feel like you’re really scraping your teeth, and if you don’t mind paying a hefty premium. Xlent floss was a bit too waxy for my taste, and the black color is a bit odd (though I can’t see it when it’s in my mouth). But I liked its flavor the best and it feels like it does a good job. So if you want the cheapest, but effective floss, it’s the best value. Hayden floss is better than regular floss, but it comes in a distant fourth for me. Of course, you will likely have a different order than I do. But hopefully, this will give you some idea what they’re like.

Final note- none of these flosses feel the same as our beloved Gentle Gum Care woven floss. And all of them are more expensive. But to their credit, none of them come unraveled like our favorite woven floss tended to do. And all of them will do a fine job removing plaque. Once I get over the mourning period, I will probably like Dr. Tung’s just as much. RIP Gentle Gum Care Floss!

Dr. Steve

Roseville Family Dentist

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