Dental tape vs dental floss: Similarities and differences

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You might know your taste in toothbrushes, but what is your taste in flosses? Have you ever noticed flossing threads are not all the same? Here, we have a dental tape vs dental floss competition. Although it is not a big one, people still wonder which one is better for their needs. There are more similarities than differences between dental tape and dental floss. Right here in this article, we prepared the most comprehensive dental tape vs dental floss comparison for you. 

Dental tape vs dental floss, the comparison begins!

Dental tape vs dental floss: what is the main difference

Almost everyone knows about regular floss, but nowadays, a new product has recently become popular: “dental tape”. It makes people think about which one to use and the differences between dental floss and dental tape.

Dental tape” is a little bit wider than its counterpart (1mm), comes in fewer different types, and might give you a better experience if you have wide teeth gaps.

Dental floss“, on the other hand, is a bit narrower, has several different types, and you might find it easier to use on your tightly spaced teeth.

There are no major differences between them when it comes to flossing. They both have a similar way of usage. You can use either of them to get rid of plaque or prevent gum diseases such as gingivitis. In addition, if you are wondering, they both have waxed and unwaxed floss versions.

There are many different types of dental floss and fewer dental tape versions. Here, in this dental tape vs dental floss table, you will see the most used features combined. (1)

Differences Dental floss Dental tape
Thickness Thinner Thicker
Types Different variations One type
Material Synthetic nylon Polyethylene fiber
Durability Weaker Stronger
Recommended for People with tight teeth gaps People with wide teeth gaps

These were the main differences to know about dental tape and floss, now let’s go deeper into the details to see which is better dental tape vs floss.

Which one is better? Dental tape vs floss

It is good for you to know that you have different options when it comes to cleaning your gums and tiny spaces between your teeth. Most of the bacteria are stuck in there, forming plaque that you can only get rid of by flossing. That is what most dental professionals say “Floss your teeth before going to bed.”. So you might wonder, “which product should I choose to floss my teeth, dental tape vs dental floss?”.

Here, we highlighted the important points for you:

  • Width: Since dental floss is rather narrow, you might need to go over the same spots over and over again to make sure you clean it better. On the other hand, dental tape is a bit wider reducing the back-and-forth sliding counts and saving you time.
  • Thickness: Dental tape is rather thicker than dental floss, making it harder for people who have tight spaces between teeth. Using a waxed product will improve your efficiency in your narrow spaces between teeth.
  • Friction: Dental floss might give you friction and fraying more than dental tape. You might find using waxed dental tape the least friction-free. Waxed floss and waxed tape are both available.
  • Usage: Flossing by wrapping the thread between your fingers is possible with both dental floss and tape. Though, there are lots of different products available with dental floss that require no wrapping around your fingers, while there are no such products for tapes.
  • Strength: Both regular and tape version of flossing has strong materials that will not easily rip while you are using them. However, standard floss has a more tendency to rip than dental tape. Especially unwaxed floss tends to rip more than other types.
  • Types: When it comes to variations, you can buy different types of dental floss for different purposes, such as super floss, Y-shaped sticks, floss threaders, and pre-threaded flosser. These are mostly found as dental floss, not as tape.

Dental tape is as good as dental floss and it works pretty much in the same way. You can get rid of the plaque and bacteria on your teeth with dental tape too. Though, there are some points that dental tape or floss can be considered advantageous over each other.

Choosing the right one for you

As you can see, there are some minor things to consider for your oral health, and both products can be used effectively against tooth decay and plaque formation. Although, there are still some points that need to be highlighted when it comes to the choice of floss.

We guess that you already have an idea about which one to choose while cleaning your teeth so far. To be more specific, we prepared a quick guide for you to think about while choosing the best one for your needs. It depends on:

  • Your teeth type: If you have tightly set pearly whites, it would be easier to use dental floss than dental tape.
  • Whether you have dental restorations: Orthodontic treatments, such as crowns, bridges, and braces might require a special kind of floss which is super floss. With dental tape, you have no such option.
  • How sensitive your gums are: Having sensitive gums can make flossing a rather uncomfortable experience. If you have tightly spaced teeth, you might accidentally keep hitting your gums while trying to get the floss between your teeth. If you have tightly spaced teeth with sensitive gums, you can try and use waxed dental floss which is thinner and easier to manipulate. 
  • Whether you are eco-friendly: If you like to play a role in preserving the environment, we recommend you get cotton or silk-made dental floss. Dental tapes are made of silicon and basically, they are not the best option you have when considering the environment.

How to use dental tape vs dental floss

The usage of dental floss and tape is the same if they are used in the traditional way. You might ask what is the traditional way. It is basically, wrapping the floss thread around your pointer fingers, and with that thread, forming a C shape around every tooth. Most probably you’ve heard of this technique or used it before, but as you can see traditional method requires some practice.

Fortunately, with dental floss, you have few more options than the traditional way. There are:

  • Dental floss holders: Flossing with a floss holder is one of the easiest options you have and is usually sold as a type of dental floss, not tape.
  • Super floss: This type of floss is made for your post-orthodontic treatment needs. Again, super floss is not a type of tape.
  • Pre-threaded flosser: This is an easy tool that comes prepared in the package, and requires no need for extra preparation. Generally, people use this device if they have dental bridges or other orthodontic treatments.

You can also find Y/F-shaped picks and floss threaders which are generally made of dental floss, but there are some tape versions too. These tools are beneficial especially for children, or while using them for someone else.

In case, if you don’t want to learn how to use the traditional method, you can benefit from all these different tools. Besides you might find them advantageous based on your situation.


Darby M, Walsh M. Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice. 4th Ed. Saunders Elsevier; 2014 Link

Ciancio SG, Shibly O, Farber GA. Clinical evaluation of the effect of two types of dental floss on plaque and gingival health. Clin Prev Dent. 1992 May-Jun;14(3):14-8. PMID: 1499246. Link

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