You probably hear it every time you visit the dentist’s office.
The hygienist asks you if you’ve been using floss between visits. You want to tell her that you prefer a Waterpik, but you can’t because she’s cleaning your teeth.
But that leads to the question – which is better for your oral hygiene? Let’s take a closer look at a water flosser and traditional floss to compare…
Why is Flossing Necessary?
While there were some questions in the media of how effective flossing is, professional bodies and government still stand by the importance of flossing after brushing. The bottom line is that your brush can’t fit into the tight spaces between your teeth, so another method is needed to finish the job. That’s where flossing comes into the picture.
Consider that there are more than 500 types of bacteria that live in plaque, and many of them are not friendly to tooth enamel. By removing this plaque that hides between teeth with floss (once a day), you can lower your chances of gum disease or developing a cavity, which a dentist will have to handle for you.
String Floss: The Pros and Cons
There’s no denying the ability of dental floss, usually made from nylon or Teflon, can get into those hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth to remove plaque. However, flossing can be a bit labor intensive (especially if you have crowded teeth) and take some time. Also, if you’re wearing braces, you might find traditional flossing even more difficult to impossible.
There’s also the possibility that if your gums aren’t bleeding, they might be by the time you’ve finished flossing. The act of flossing with string may also cause pain and inflammation.
Waterpik: The Pros and Cons
While some research has shown that standard floss and water flossing are about equally effective for removing plaque, the Waterpik might have the edge. Gum disease progression can cause more fluid that might encourage more growth of harmful bacteria to the crevice. Waterpiks might be your best tool against this.
Other advantages of the water flosser is that it’s gentler on gums (so you’re less likely to bleed), and it’s easier to maneuver around teeth with braces. It also helps clean away particles from between the metal wires.
Once gum disease progresses and starts to pull the gums away from teeth, you can wash bacteria out of the resulting pockets. The same can’t be said for string flossing.
String Floss vs Water Flosser: Who Wins?
It’s hard to declare a clear winner between these two methods. Some experts say traditional string floss may be more effective because you’re actually scraping the tooth rather than rinsing it. However, there could be the side effects from that such as pain and bleeding.
Ultimately, you and your dentist should decide on a strategy to keep your teeth free from decay and your gums healthy. Your dentist can also help you learn to use floss or a Waterpik properly for the most effective plaque removal. Contact us today to arrange an appointment.