Difference between Waxed and Unwaxed Dental Floss

Key Difference:  Waxed dental floss is just like an unwaxed dental floss except that a waxed dental floss is easy to glide in between small gaps between teeth. Cleaning efficiency to remove the food trapped between the teeth and plaque is the same for both these types of floss.

Floss is a very effective tool for interdental hygiene. It helps in removing plague, and thus also assists in maintaining a home oral hygiene program. An effective flossing routine can help in removing plaque up to 80 percent. Floss can be of two basic types - waxed or unwaxed. Waxed ones are coated with waxes like natural bees wax or microcrystalline plastic white wax. This wax assists the floss to slide between teeth easily.

Generally, the effectiveness tends to be the same in both the cases. However, unwaxed are considered to be better when it comes to conditions like normal tooth contact area because floss can itself easily glide through the area. On the other hand, waxed ones are preferred when tight proximal tooth contact area is to be dealt with.

As unwaxed floss is not coated with wax they are thinner than waxed floss. Generally, this option of unwaxed type is available for nylon dental floss. Waxed dental floss is also to be preferred if one is having braces, as there are less chances that it would stuck or get tangled in the braces.

Clinically, there is no difference between waxed and unwaxed dental floss regarding their efficiency of removing plaque. Waxed floss is considered to be gentle towards the gums. Thus, it primarily depends upon the basis of ease of usage to choose among the waxed and unwaxed dental floss.

Comparison between Waxed and Unwaxed Dental Floss:


Waxed Dental Floss

Unwaxed Dental Floss


These types of floss are coated with wax. This coating covers a thin nylon string.

These types of floss are not covered with wax. They tend to be less sturdy than waxed floss.


Comparatively thicker

Comparatively thinner

Used for

  • Tight proximal tooth contact area
  • Wearing braces

Normal tooth contact area

Made up of

String of nylon. Wax Coating can be made up of waxes like natural bees wax or microcrystalline plastic white wax.

Commonly made out of one of two polymers (synthetic compounds), either nylon or Teflon.

Image Courtesy: blog.wilhoitefamilydental.com, dentist.net

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