Flossing is an important part of keeping your teeth healthy. If you floss daily, you can help prevent multiple health problems such as cavities and gum disease. But did you know that there is actually more than one way to floss? A dentist talks about the differences between traditional flossing and water flossing, and which one could be right for you.
Flossing as we know it today has been around for more than 200 years. It involves sliding a piece of string up and down in between each tooth. It helps remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth that could cause decay and gum disease when not removed. Many people neglect this process, even though it should be done every day.
While water flossing has only existed since 1962, it is often seen as a viable alternative to the traditional method. The device used, often called a water pick, produces a steady stream of water to wash food debris and plaque from between your teeth. However, it needs to be plugged in and since it’s a bit of a heavy machine, it can generally only be used at home.
Benefits of Traditional Flossing
Many people choose to stick to the classic method of flossing for a few reasons:
- Portability. Floss containers are small and easy to fit into your pocket, purse, or a desk at work. If you feel something stuck between your teeth at any point in the day, you can take care of the problem right then and there instead of waiting to go home to use a water flosser.
- Less maintenance. While water picks require refilling the container and possibly replacing batteries, floss can simply be discarded after each use.
- Lower cost. You can find floss at pretty much any drug store or grocery store, usually for less than $5 per pack. Water picks are often at least $20 or more, depending on how high-tech the device.
Advantages of Water Flossing
Water flossing is preferred by many people for several reasons, including:
- Gentleness around restorations and implants. If you have a dental implant or a restoration like a filling or a crown, you might worry that they could be yanked out by flossing traditionally. Water picks do not pose any risk of damage.
- Ease of cleaning around braces. It can be hard to reach between the teeth when braces are in the way. Water flossing has been shown to reduce plaque in people with braces much more successfully than those who used string to floss.
- Simplicity of use. Water flossing needs less manual dexterity. This makes it easier for children to use, as well as adults with conditions like arthritis or Parkinson’s.
Every mouth is different. The choice for which type of floss to use is ultimately up to you. However, if you would like more information on flossing and how to take care of your oral health in general, call your dentist today!
About the Author
Dr. David Earnest and his team at Comal Dental in New Braunfels, TX emphasize patient comfort above all else. They want to make sure that not only are your teeth cleaned, but that you feel relaxed and secure during the process. Dr. Earnest is a member of several prestigious organizations, including the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. If you would like him to help you settle the flossing debate, contact him here or call (830)-625-1515.