not a professional. just crazy.

These Picks Turned Me, a Non-Flosser, Into Someone Who Flosses Four Times Daily

Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

Here’s something you may not know about me: I have a really bad overbite and slightly crooked teeth. I didn’t really care about either, until a recent trip to the dentist, when I found out if I didn’t take action, I’d be putting myself at risk for some serious health issues: headaches, jaw pain, and trouble chewing. Next thing you know, they were handing me an Invisalign with rubber bands and telling me I had to wear it for two years.

Within hours, I went from being a person who cares a normal amount about their teeth, to someone who is obligated to brush and floss four times a day. Which I was none too pleased about, because, like most people, I loathe floss. I hate how it wraps around my fingers until they go numb. I hate how the strands stick to my hands and my trashcan and my toilet. I’d tried generic floss picks from CVS in the past, thinking they’d be a good alternative, but they never seemed to work as well, and they were terribly abrasive on my sensitive, not-frequently-flossed gums.

Post-dentist appointment, I spent a couple of teeth-specific hours online, the objective being to find something I could use four times a day without being driven insane. I decided to order The Humble Co.’s cornstarch floss picks on Urban Outfitters based mostly on their branding: They’re eco-friendly (the bag they come in is paper and the product itself is biodegradable and compostable), Swedish, and nice-looking. I used them for the first time after lunch, and felt an immediate rush of relief: These, I could tell, would carry me through the next two years. Each little pick has a double thread (which makes them extra strong) and a curved head, which gives it the ability to slide into the toughest-to-get-to back-teeth spots. Most importantly, they’re exceptionally gentle. They didn’t, and haven’t since, made my gums bleed, or my mouth feel sensitive at all. And as I found out the other night, after eating about ten pounds of popcorn, they are easily able to extract even the stuckest-of-stuck foods (kernels). These little guys have made it easy for me, an admitted non-flosser, to floss four times a day. If you are someone who wants to start flossing more (or is being forced to by your dentist), but loathes flossing, I can tell you with certainty that they make the whole process much, much less heinous. And what more can you ask for, really, when it comes to dental care?

Other Rio-approved dental products

These portable toothbrushes fold down super-small, which means I can carry them even in my tiny, dumb purses. They also folds into themselves, which means the bristles don’t get dirty as they float around your bag.

This is a cleaning product that my friend recommended, and I’m now completely obsessed with it. You put a couple of drops of it in some warm water, then throw your Invisalign into the mixture. After about 15 minutes, your gross, weird retainer is sparkly and bright and you feel much better about putting it back in your mouth.

This is not the kind of thing I ever thought I’d be writing about, but yes: This is a wax that you put on the scary pointy areas of a retainer or Invisalign so it doesn’t cut or otherwise injure your mouth as you’re adjusting to it.

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These Biodegradable Picks Turned Me Into a Regular Flosser