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Traditional flossing vs. water flosser — which one should I use?

“Do you floss at home?” Ah, the age old question we get asked every time we go in for a dental cleaning. Survey, how many of you 1.) actually floss and 2.) are truthful about your answer? According to a survey done by Delta Dental, only 4 in 10 Americans floss their teeth once a day and a good 20% don’t floss their teeth at all! Did you know by not flossing, you are missing 40% of your teeth’s surface area that your toothbrush alone cannot access? Yikes, that means every morning and evening when we are brushing our teeth, we are only cleaning 60% of our teeth! That cannot be.

While we know flossing isn’t a great contender to the general public, it is an important factor in proper oral health practices. There are so many interdental aids out on the market the latest and greatest gadget out there is a water flosser. Naturally we ask ourselves, is this worth the investment or should I stick to normal flossing? What option is best for me? 

Traditional Floss

Floss is great and comes in many forms. Whether you’re a fan of traditional string floss or you prefer using floss picks, any form of floss is great for plaque removal in between the teeth. We hear all the time that our patients like keeping floss picks in their car to floss at a red light.. and hey, we aren’t complaining! The great thing with floss picks is that they are great for patients with limited dexterity such as kids or older folks. Whatever method you choose, ensure that the floss is hugging the lateral wall of the tooth in a “C” shape and extend it below the gum line to ensure that it is being the most effective.

Pros. Floss is inexpensive, easily accessible, and when done correctly, can reduce trauma in the gums.

Cons. May be hard to get in the habit of practicing.

Water Flosser

Water flossers are a great alternative to traditional string floss. Water gets ejected at a high power and steady stream to tackle any bugs left in the pockets of your gums.This method is really effective in reaching areas that floss may be unable to access.

Pros. Water flossers come in many different forms including handheld and cordless, which make it great for use in the shower! The large handle allows for easier use for those with limited dexterity and the stream of water is great for ortho patients.

Cons. They can be expensive, bulky, and difficult to learn. Also, if you’re an avid flosser, you may not experience the same “clean” feeling with water flossers once you’re finished since there is no mint waxed coating.

So which one is best for you? Depending on your lifestyle and priorities, one may be better suited for you. Realize that whatever you choose, they come in many forms so you aren’t just confined to one type. Also, some interdental aid is better than none. If you’re flossing your teeth, we couldn’t be happier!

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