Living in a technology-filled world, we’re constantly shown the latest and greatest, from new phones to kitchen appliances and everything in between. The dental world is not exempt from the world of technology. There are new gadgets debuting every day that promise cleaner, whiter smiles, and it’s hard to distinguish between what actually works and what’s just well-marketed.
Over time however, there are some conclusions that can be drawn from the effectiveness of making the switch to a more high-tech dental device. For example, studies have shown that people who make the switch to an electric toothbrush have less tooth decay and healthier gums than those who use a manual toothbrush. These studies have been also supported by findings from the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, who found that use of an electric toothbrush over an eleven year period resulted in 22% less gum recession and 18% less tooth decay. While many have made the switch to an electric toothbrush, we wanted to examine the statistics behind another dental tool that’s not quite as widely used: the water flosser.
We’re sure you’ve heard us talking about the importance of flossing. Since brushing can’t effectively remove as much plaque build up between your teeth, your dental care routine simply is not complete without the use of dental floss. When it comes to the effectiveness of traditional floss versus a water flosser, which achieves the deeper clean?
Traditional floss helps to remove plaque and food particles by using a thin string in between your teeth. This type of floss is inexpensive and can be purchased just about anywhere. Due to its compact size and convenience, it’s easy to bring with you anywhere so you can clean your teeth whenever you need.
The largest drawback of traditional string floss is that it’s very common for people to not use the best technique, and therefore are not able to fully achieve the most thorough clean. For our patients with braces, flossing can become even more of a challenge. Next time you floss, try to curve the floss around your tooth to reach under the gumline to get rid of the plaque build up. If you’re still unsure of the proper flossing technique, feel free to ask your dental hygienist at your next appointment!
A water flosser cleans in between your teeth by projecting a thin stream of pressurized water. This handheld device does not require nearly as much technique at traditional flossing, since the water flosser does the work for you. This makes flossing while wearing braces much easier, since you don’t have to worry about maneuvering the string around wires and brackets. Water flossers can also reach areas of the mouth that would be difficult to get to with traditional floss.
Unfortunately, water flossers are not nearly as convenient or inexpensive as traditional floss. This device will require a spot in your bathroom for storage, as well as an electricity source to power it up. If you travel a lot, you’ll find that water flossers are not the easiest to pack up and take with you.
Which is More Effective?
While both methods of flossing are effective in achieving a deeper clean than brushing alone, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association recommends water flossing over traditional dental flossing. In a perfect world, we recommend both having both options: a water flosser to use at home and some traditional floss to keep with you on the go. Whichever option you choose, all that matters to us is that you’re flossing!
If you have questions about your flossing technique, or if you’re interested in upgrading to a water flosser, let one of our dental hygienists know at your next cleaning! You can request an appointment online or by calling (843) 767-2600.