In the last few years, water flossers have entered the market, innovating how we clean our teeth and improve our oral health. Water flossers help us to clear away food debris and bacteria that can cause plaque by spraying an effective yet gentle blast of water on teeth, which is especially useful for the gaps between teeth, the gumline, and hard to reach places in the mouth. That said, dentists agree that water flossers are no substitute for traditional flossing, and they should only supplement our daily dental cleaning regimens. Now, you may be asking yourself, why? Why can’t I use a water flosser in lieu of traditional dental floss? Well, that answer lies in the pros and cons of these two types of cleaning apparatuses. And today, we’re going to take a close look at the differences between dental floss and water flossers, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.

As always, we’re here to provide you with advice when it comes to your oral health and good dental hygeine, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to learn more — Love to Smile has three local dental offices in Lenexa, Overland Park, and Peculiar, making visits convenient! Now, let’s take a detailed look into the pros and cons of traditional floss and water flossers.

The Pros and Cons of Dental Flossing

We’ve long been using dental floss to remove food debris and clean near the gumline. But is it enough? Here are the pros and cons of traditional dental floss, as well as some tips on proper usage.

Pros

Traditional dental floss can reach most of the gumline, and it’s the most effective way to remove stubborn food debris. Traditional floss also removes some plaque, when used properly. In addition, traditional floss is highly inexpensive, and you can take it with you almost anywhere, making it ideal for quick cleanings after meals.

Cons

While traditional dental floss can reach most of the gumline, it may be difficult to use to reach teeth that are far in the back of the mouth. In addition, traditional floss is difficult to use for those with braces or permanent retainers. Special floss and pick-style flossers may be suitable for these areas. Traditional floss may also cause minor bleeding of the gums, when not performed regularly or when used improperly. Traditional floss may be difficult for certain people to use. Finally, traditional floss may damage gums if used with excessive pressure. Be sure to use the guidelines below to floss appropriately.

Tips on Using Floss

When flossing, it is best to take about a foot and a half to two feet of floss for each flossing. Take the floss and wrap it around the fingers of both hands, finally pinching the floss between the thumbs and forefingers of each hand; there should be about an inch or two of gap between the hands. With the floss taut, gently wiggle the floss between teeth, moving it in a back and forth motion at the gumline (where the gums meet the teeth). Work up and down the teeth, and move from side to side to reach all parts of the gaps between teeth. Do not use excessive pressure around gums, which may cause the gumline to recede. Floss between all teeth, and floss behind the backs of the rearmost teeth in the mouth.

The Pros and Cons of Water Flossing

Water flossing is praised for its convenience, though it is bulky and expensive (at least up front). Beyond that, there are a few pros and cons to keep in mind when considering investing in a water flosser. Here’s our list.

Pros

Water flossers are ideal for those with braces, permanent retainers, and other dental work that obstructs traditional flossing. Plus, water flossers can stimulate the gums, which may decrease the odds of gum disease. Water flossers are an excellent supplement to traditional flossing and may further improve oral hygiene.

Cons

Water flossers are bulky and difficult to travel with. In addition, water flossers require filling and regular cleaning. Water flossers may damage the gums if excessive pressure is used — consult your dentist or periodontist for recommended water floss pressure guidelines. As mentioned, water flossers are also far more expensive than traditional floss, though they are a one-time purchase. In general, water flossers are not a complete substitute for traditional floss, and should be incorporated in a normal dental cleaning regimen.

Tips on Using a Water Flosser

When using a water flosser, be sure to fill it with warm, clean water with every use. Then use the tip of the nozzle of the device to clean your teeth, pointing it at the gaps of the teeth, at the gumline. The water flosser can flush between teeth, pulling away food debris. Work from the back of the mouth forward, spitting into the sink as necessary. Avoid spraying the back of the mouth. Do not use mouthwash or other products in your water flosser; only use warm water. Using other products may damage your teeth and gums, and it may damage the water flosser equipment.

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Keep Your Teeth Clean With Regular Checkups

Overall, it’s best to incorporate both traditional flossing and water flossing into your routine to keep your oral health at its best. That said, if you don’t want to invest in a water flosser, traditional floss is a sufficient cleaning solution to reach between teeth. As always, be sure to incorporate flossing with your traditional cleaning regimen, and be sure to visit your local dental office every six months, or as recommended by your dentist! If you’re in the area, Love to Smile now has three conveniently located dental offices in Lenexa, Overland Park, and Peculiar — schedule an appointment at your most convenient local office today. Remember: be sure to floss at least twice per day!