Most of us brush our teeth every day, but it’s the next step that we tend to forget (or skip): flossing. Maybe we’re short on time or we just dread the process of threading a piece of string between our teeth. After all, it’s not the most enjoyable part of a personal-hygiene routine.
But flossing is imperative to maintaining good oral health. It eliminates plaque and food trapped between our teeth, and it helps prevent cavities and gum disease. But for those who struggle with flossing or who have orthodontics or other dental issues, there’s another solution: a water flosser.
Our patients often ask us: “What is a waterpik, and can it replace flossing?”
We think that a water flosser can be a great adjunct to flossing. We recommend that patients still floss, but they can replace a few flosses per week with a water pick, or they can alternate between the two.
Studies show that water flossers are not quite as good as flossing when it comes to preventing cavities because they don’t break contact between teeth and remove trapped bacteria the way flossing does. But when it comes to preventing gum disease, the water flosser does just as well — or even better — than flossing. This is mainly because most people don’t floss properly (flexing the string beneath the gum line, moving the string up and down with enough pressure to remove plaque, and avoiding tissue injury because of too much tension).
We recommend water flossers mostly to people with braces, fixed-wire retainers, bridges, implants, or to people who don’t like flossing or struggle with proper flossing technique.
Water flossers cost more than buying dental floss, but these flossers are well worth the money:
- The Waterpik Cordless Freedom Water Flosser is waterproof, so you can keep it in the shower. It’s also less expensive than other water flossers. The downside is that it operates on batteries, which eventually need to be changed.
- The Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser is bigger and it takes up counter space, but it has a charger. You may be less likely to use it since you can’t take it in the shower, but if you don’t want to worry about changing batteries, this is a good choice.
For more information, feel free to call our office or ask our dentists about water flossing.
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