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Traditional Dental Floss Vs. Water Flossers

Many of our patients wonder just how vital it is to make an additional investment into electronic cleaning devices. With the advent of new technologies comes higher price tags, and it may leave you wondering if they actually clean better than their manual counterparts.

When it comes to the health of your teeth and gums, you want to make an informed decision. Making this decision can be challenging, so we have offered a complete comparison between water flossers and traditional string dental floss to help.

How String Dental Floss Works

The process of dental floss uses a thin piece of string that is passed in-between each of your teeth. The string gently scrapes up and down each surface of the tooth to help remove plaque and food debris off of the surface of the tooth and under the gumline.

Advantages of Traditional Floss

There are several advantages when it comes to traditional flossing. For one, it is a very efficient method when it comes to removing left behind food and debris from between your teeth. The cost of floss is very low, and it is easily accessible from any pharmacy or grocery store. Lastly, a container of dental floss doesn’t take up much room, and it can be used anywhere.

Disadvantages of Traditional Floss

Despite the many advantages of using traditional dental floss, there are also a few disadvantages. Some patients may find reaching specific areas of the mouth difficult. Flossing can also cause minor bleeding, especially if you are not using the correct technique. When using traditional floss, be sure to monitor any worsening gum sensitivity and discuss any persistent discomfort with your dentist.

How Water Flossers Work

A water flosser works by shooting out a thin, pressurized stream of water. This type of floss uses much less hand coordination, as you simply hold the device over the surface you’d like to clean and the water does the work for you. Some models additionally come with interchangeable bristles for removing biofilm and cleaning between braces.

Advantages of Water Flossers

Water flossing, or water picking, utilizes a special machine that directs a stream of water into the mouth and gums. Rather than scraping the teeth to remove plaque, water flossing uses the pressure of the water to massage the gums and push the food away from the teeth. A Waterpik is easy to use, especially for people with braces, or other types of dental work like permanent or temporary bridges. The massage action can also improve gum health and reach areas that can’t be reached with traditional floss.

Disadvantages of Water Flossers

Perhaps the main disadvantage of a water flosser is the cost. A Waterpik can be expensive to purchase and will need space to be stored. It requires access to electricity and water, making it difficult to use outside of the home or while traveling if you do not choose a cordless option.

Which is More Effective, Water or Dental Floss?

Many studies have compared water flossing and traditional string floss. Overall, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association recommends water flossing over string dental flossing. Water flossers are effective at removing plaque and reducing gingival bleeding more than string floss. A water flosser is also particularly useful for those with limitations including arthritis or braces, where maneuvering string floss can be difficult.

Which Type of Floss is Right For You?

While the proper use of a toothbrush is effective for cleaning the proximal surfaces of teeth, brushing alone is not sufficient for cleaning the surfaces between your teeth. Whether you decide that a water flosser or traditional floss is right for you, the most important thing is that you floss every day regardless of the method you choose.

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