I was traveling in Japan last month and ran out of floss.  “No problem,” I thought.  “I’m sure I can find some at an omnipresent convenient store.”  But that was not the case!

The only floss I could find was imported floss from the US for about $6.50, or the individually-packaged dental flossers.  You know, those little plastic things with a little bit of floss across it that are disposable.

I was really resistant to buying these because:

  1. What a waste of extra materials. Sure, less floss was used each time, but the packaging and the plastic that would be wasted with each use was not something I wanted to sign up for.
  2. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to use. Would the floss slide between my tightly-aligned teeth?

In the end, I bought them because I had no other choice.  How did it go?

  • As feared, it was tough going between my tightly-aligned teeth, but I managed to get them through my teeth.  And since I floss regularly, I didn’t have any bleeding or discomfort.
  • It was a little difficult getting at the back teeth at first, but I got the hang of it.
  • One advantage was getting some leverage in flossing between the back teeth.
  • In the end, better to floss with a sub-optimal tool, than not at all.

Of course, with braces, this option would NOT WORK AT ALL. So this is about the POST braces life.  Which, remember, is just as important for beautiful teeth and health.

Fortunately, I’m back in the US and with my regular rolls of floss. That said, I know that some people love these flossers, so some thoughts on the options, with an eye to sustainability from a materials perspective.

  • Decrease waste by going with the multipacks; no individual wrapping. Like these from Plackers and GUM.
  • Minimize waste by using a flosser with a disposable head; you keep the handle.  Like the Reach Access Flosser.
  • Go one step further to minimizing plastic waste by getting a floss holder, where you put your own floss in the holder.  This would be a great option for people who like using these flossers, but want to cut down on plastic waste and cost, or like me, would rather use my own floss which fits better between my teeth.  Here’s one from Flossaid.