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Experimental study determining the mechanical properties of dental floss holders

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This study determined the mechanical properties of 19 dental floss holders. Eight single-use holders and 11 reusable ones were tested. An in vitro model with dental proximal contact strength of 8 N was created. Every device had to pass the proximal contact 30 times. We measured (1) the displacement of the floss [mm], (2) the force [N] necessary to pass the proximal contact after the 30th passage, (3) the loosening of the floss (offset [mm]), and (4) the change in the distance between the branches [mm]. Each measurement was repeated seven times. The results are displacement of the floss after 30 passages, 2.0 to 9.2 mm; passage force, 2.6 to 11 N; increases in branch distance, 0–2.9 mm; offset of the floss, 0–1.8 mm (all numbers are medians). Based on cleaning a full dentition (30 passages), we suggest introducing minimal requirements of <4 mm for the displacement of the floss, ≥11 N for the force, and <0.1 mm for the difference in branch distance and the offset. Only two products fulfilled our criteria. The tests show that dental floss holders vary extremely in their mechanical properties. Their effective use seems often impossible due to limited mechanical properties.

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We would like to thank Dr. Astrid Swenson of Darwin College, Cambridge University for proof reading the manuscript.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Anna Wolff.

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Wolff, A., Pritsch, M., Dörfer, C. et al. Experimental study determining the mechanical properties of dental floss holders. Clin Oral Invest 15, 417–425 (2011).

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