Improving the mechanical properties of multiuse dental floss holders



This study was designed to determine the effect of using a tensioning device and various winding techniques on the tension of a polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) floss in a multiuse holder. The hypothesis of this study is that the use of a tensioning device improves the handling and mechanical properties of floss holders.

Materials and methods

The floss holder was modified so that four different degrees of tension (single‐/double‐wound; with/without tensioning device) were obtained and tested in an in vitro model approximating dental proximal contact resistance. The following parameters were measured: (I) the force (N) necessary to pass through the proximal contact after the 30th passage, (II) the displacement of the floss (mm), (III) the loosening of the floss (offset, mm), (IV) the change in distance between the branches (mm).


(I) passage force. All modifications reached 11 N (median). For the double‐wound modification using the tensioning device, the smallest displacement (II) was 3.6 mm; the single‐wound modification without the tensioning device had the highest displacement (7.6 mm, medians) (III). The offset of all four different modifications ranged between 0 and −2 mm (medians). For the modification without the tensioning device, there was a difference in offset of −2 mm (single‐wound) and 0.5 mm (double‐wound) (medians). Modifications with the tensioning device did not produce any offset differences. (IV) A change in distance between the branches between −3 mm and −2 mm, respectively (with the tensioning device), and 0 mm (without the tensioning device) was observed (median). The results indicated that double‐wound floss and the use of a tensioning device both lead to a constant tension of the floss in the floss holder.


Technical modifications such as those shown in this study should improve the mechanical properties of multiuse floss holders, which, in turn, could lead to more user‐friendly floss holders and hence to higher user acceptance


A Wolff HJ Staehle

First published: 11 December 2013

NUfloss INC