What is the difference between dental tape and dental floss?

December 08, 2014

What is the difference between dental tape and dental floss?
Dental floss is a thin cord comprising of filaments used to clean plaque and food particles from the interproximal tooth surfaces.
Dental tape has a flatter surface and it is wider than dental floss by a millimeter or so
Dental tape is around 1-2mm wider than the regular dental floss. It covers a bigger surface when flossing in between the teeth and is more efficient in cleaning the plaque biofilm in the interproximal spaces.
The difference between dental tape and dental floss

Dental tape and dental floss serve the same purpose of cleaning a person's teeth, but they are different in their form and how they execute the job of cleaning teeth. The dental tape can be described as being a strip of nylon that is waxed or polythene fiber that is used in the cleaning of the spaces between teeth and also the surfaces of the teeth. Dental tape has a flat surface that allows it to pass in between teeth more easily and hence cleans this part thoroughly. The dental floss, on the other hand, is a thin cord mostly comprising of filaments that are used to remove food particles and plaque from between teeth. Dental floss is used by gently inserting the floss between the teeth and rubbing it against the sides of the teeth. Toothbrushes do not clean underneath the gum-line or between teeth so using dental floss, or dental tape ensures that these areas are cleaned effectively.

If you have never been taught how to floss your teeth here are a few tips on the correct flossing technique.

The difference between dental floss and dental tape is that the dental tape is flatter, and it is a bit more stretchy than dental floss. Dental floss has been in existence for over a long period ever since strings were made. The dental floss has over the years changed a bit as manufactures added flavors like cinnamon and mint to it. Dental tape, on the other hand, is a fairly recent invention compared to the dental floss. Some people prefer dental tape to dental floss since it slides easily in and out between the gaps of the teeth. The dental tape does not also snap or harshly strike the gums the way dental floss at times does.

The creation of the first dental floss is credited to Levi Spear Palmy, who was a dentist operating from New Orleans. In 1815, he had advised the public that people should clean their teeth using silk floss. In 1898, the first patent for dental floss was issued to Johnson & Johnson corporation. Dental tape is however a more modern invention compared to dental floss.

The difference in the use of dental tape and dental floss rests mainly with the user and is heavily reliant on the comfort that each provides to such a user. There is no significant difference in the cost implications of the two. The core difference between dental floss and dental tape as seen earlier is that the dental tape is wider than dental floss by a millimeter or so.


Interdental cleaning - Dental floss vs. Water pick vs. Interdental brushes


The method of flossing irrespective of whether one uses dental floss or dental tape is however similar. The first step would be to break off approximately 18 inches of floss and wind its ends on both of your middle fingers. The floss should be held tightly with an inch of floss between the holding fingers. The next step would be to gently place the floss in the space between the gum and the tooth until a slight resistance is felt. Gently scrape the side of the tooth moving away from the gum. This should be performed on all teeth.

It is important to floss your teeth at least once a day so as to eliminate plaque from your teeth. If this plaque is not removed, it can harden and form dental calculus that would lead to cavities and gum disease. In choosing whether to use dental floss or dental tape choose one that you find comfortable to use. Both are however effective in ensuring that teeth are clean and plaque free.


Plaza Dental Group
Plaza Dental Group - United States

Great info! However, in a line we can differentiate between them as Dental floss is thin like a piece of thread and dental tape is wider like a millimeter or so.

12 December 2014

Baseline Dental Practice
Baseline Dental Practice - United States

True but I am satisfied with anything that the patient will fit between his teeth.

07 January 2015


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