What Is Dental Floss Made Of?

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Dental floss is made of a core of nylon, silk, rubber, plastic or polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, surrounded by various ingredients such as flavors, wax and other substances, according to Thomas P. Donnelly, D.D.S. Other ingredients of dental floss may include polishing agents, abrasives, coagulants, tartar control additives and antiplaque agents, according to Natural Life Magazine.

Connelly explains that there are two basic types of dental floss. Multifilament floss is made of threads of nylon or silk, and it is the cheapest floss on the market as of July 2014. Multifilament varieties come waxed and unwaxed, and this type of floss varies in thickness. This dental floss has been on consumer shelves for decades.

The second type of floss is monofilament, which is made of one strand of rubber, plastic or PTFE. This type of dental floss is stronger and more expensive, but it is thinner than multifilament floss. Several types of "glide" floss are monofilaments because this type of floss is easier to move between teeth, according to Connelly.

Both multifilament and monofilament dental floss come in flavors such as mint, cinnamon, bubble gum and unflavored. Waxed floss is only available as multifilament varieties because thinner floss does not need wax, according to Connelly. Natural Life Magazine reveals that this wax is usually a petroleum-based substance.