It’s one of the first questions you’ll be asked when you go to the dentist – Have you been flossing? Of course, most people say yes, but in reality, a lot of people do not floss their teeth regularly. Flossing may not seem like a big deal, but it really is.
37% of Americans do not floss daily, and that means that they are not cleaning 35% of the surface of their teeth. If you don’t floss, you are susceptible to gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. The popularity of water flossing has helped with compliance for those who do not like regular flossing. But is water flossing as good as regular flossing?
What is Water Flossing?
Water flossing entails using a home dental device that shoots water at the gumline to clear the area of plaque, food debris, and bacteria. Depending on the brand, the water flosser has different methods of doing this.
The Waterpik, for example, uses water pressure and pulsation to clean the gumline. The Hydrofloss, on the other hand, uses hydromagnetics to prevent plaque and bacteria from adhering to the tooth.
So, instead of using a thread like standard floss, water flossers shoot a stream of water at the gums. Some water flossers also have a function to massage the gums, improving overall gum health.
Benefits of Water Flossing
So, is water flossing as good as regular flossing? Let’s look at the benefits of water flossing.
Easy to Use
Water flossers are easy and fast to use. Water flosser tips are designed to easily reach the back of your mouth, whereas that can sometimes be difficult with traditional floss. It’s also fast. It only takes about 2 minutes to irrigate your entire mouth with a water flosser.
Good for Braces
Water flossing is a must if you have braces. Using regular floss with orthodontic appliances is very challenging, but using a water flosser is easy and effective. Those who used a water flosser with an orthodontic tip daily saw 3 times a reduction in plaque vs those who use regular floss.
Safe for Implants
Dental implants can fail if not properly taken care of. Water flossing is a safe and effective way to clean implants.
Reduces Periodontal Infection
Water flossers are better than regular floss at removing bacteria from the gum pocket. It gets deeper into the pocket than regular floss and uses pulsation to remove bacteria from the area.
Disadvantages of Water Flossing
While regular floss is very small and takes up virtually no space, a water flosser will take up some space on your bathroom counter.
Water flossers cost more than regular floss. There is a wide variety of models available, with different price points.
What is Regular Flossing?
Now let’s talk about regular flossing. When I say regular flossing, I am talking about standard flossing using a thin cord. Placing the cord between the gaps of your teeth removes food, debris, and bacteria from the area.
Types of Dental Floss
There are a few different types of dental floss to choose from. The most common are waxed or unwaxed.
- Unwaxed Floss – Unwaxed floss is made of nylon and is good at fitting between the teeth. A con of unwaxed floss is that it is prone to shredding.
- Waxed Floss – Waxed floss is similar to unwaxed floss, but it has the added benefit of a thin waxed coating.
- Dental Tape – Broader and flatter than standard dental floss. Good for those with larger gaps between teeth.
- Polytetrafluorethylene floss (PTFE) – Uses high tech material that slides easily between teeth
- Floss Picks – A small plastic tool with a piece of floss attached to it.
Benefits of Regular Flossing
The main benefit of using standard floss is it’s effectiveness. The purpose of floss is to clean food and bacteria from between teeth to reduce your chances of tooth decay and gum disease, and standard floss is very good at this. Standard floss can wrap, bend, and conform all around the tooth’s surface.
Easy to Find
Standard floss is extremely attainable. You can find floss at any drug store or grocery store. Your dentist may even give you free floss after your bi-annual teeth cleaning appointment.
Standard floss is also quite affordable. The average person uses about 122 yards of floss per year. That can be purchased for less than $10.
Disadvantages of Regular Floss
A disadvantage of regular floss is that it may be hard to reach your back teeth. Since you use your fingers to maneuver the floss, some people may find regular floss difficult to handle.
Regular floss may cause your gums to bleed. Especially if you don’t floss regularly.
Is Water Flossing as Good as Regular Flossing?
So, is water flossing as good as regular flossing? After looking at the pros and cons of both water flossing and regular flossing I’d say the answer is yes. Water flossing does a great job of cleaning bacteria from the gum pocket and reaching back teeth. It’s also good for braces and dental implants.
After looking at the pros and cons of both water flossing and regular flossing I’d say the answer is yes.
However, the key here is if you will actually do it. Whether you choose water flossing or regular flossing it is important that you do it every day. For best results, brush twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist regularly for an exam, cleaning, and x-rays.