Flossing is an often overlooked but very important part of oral hygiene. Many people don’t know how to use string floss properly, don’t have the time for regular flossing, or simply forget to do it. Water flossers or Waterpiks can make the process of flossing much quicker and easier, making light work of something that many people find time-consuming, but are water flossers better than string floss? Let’s take a look at the facts.
What Are Water Flossers?
Water flossers, also known as oral irrigators, or Waterpiks, are handheld devices that shoot jets of water into your mouth. The jets of water dislodge and flush away debris, food particles, plaque, and bacteria, to improve your standard of oral hygiene. They can be used as an alternative to regular flossing, which is why it is referred to as water flossing.
The Importance Of Plaque Removal
While most people are pretty good at brushing their teeth, many just don’t floss correctly. But it’s important to remember that plaque accumulates on all tooth surfaces, and that includes places that are inaccessible by your toothbrush.
Not even an electric toothbrush can penetrate your gum line or get between your teeth. This is what flossing is for.
Accumulated plaque can lead to tooth decay and ultimately to tooth loss. It can also compromise your heart health. Water flossers are particularly effective at rinsing away the bacteria that contribute to infections and gingivitis – the same bacteria that can have an adverse effect on your heart health.
Gum disease has been associated with lung infections, heart disease, and diabetes.
What Are The Benefits Of Water Flossing?
Water flossers are gentler on your gums
Water flossing doesn’t cause abrasion or irritation to your gums, which is ideal for patients whose gums bleed when they try regular flossing.
Water flossers are suitable for people who can’t use string floss
Some people haven’t learned the right technique for regular flossing and can’t do an effective job. Water flossers do most of the work for you; all you have to do is hold them in the correct position. They can also be used by children who are still learning to floss. Children under the age of six should be supervised when flossing.
Water flossing works for people with impaired mobility
If you have a condition that affects your ability to use your hands, water flossers can ensure you still do an effective job at removing plaque. A Waterpik can also access areas that string floss can’t.
Water flossing is great for orthodontic braces
It’s much easier to use a Waterpik than trying to do regular flossing when you wear orthodontic braces. While it’s not impossible, it’s much quicker and thus more likely to be done if you have Waterpik. A study carried out on a group of adolescents who wore braces and used a Waterpik with an orthodontic tip every day for four weeks had three times less plaque than the group using a manual brush and string floss and five times less plaque than the group that used a manual brush only.
Water flossers can help you look after your dental restorations
Water flossing is highly recommended if you have dental implants, dental crowns, or bridgework. Your restorations need to be well maintained in order to last for a long time and to promote your gum health. A Waterpik is a safe and gentle way to look after them.
Manage gum disease effectively
Water flossing has been found to be effective at managing gum disease, especially in terms of cleaning periodontal pockets. The jets of water can also be soothing to swollen, tender, or inflamed gums.
You can use it in conjunction with regular flossing
If you’re really committed to regular flossing, and it’s working for you, there’s no need to stop. Some people like to use string floss first and then move onto their Waterpik to rinse the debris away afterwards. Waterpiks were not intended to replace string floss, but many patients have found them to be more beneficial than traditional flossing.
So, Are Water Flossers Better Than String Floss?
Some studies have found that Waterpiks remove more plaque than string floss. One study found a Waterpik and manual toothbrush combo to be 29% more effective at plaque removal than a manual toothbrush and string floss combo.
This is especially important for managing gum disease because string floss can only penetrate 1 to 3mm to remove plaque below the gum line. If you have periodontal pockets that go 4mm or deeper, you won’ be able to keep them clean with traditional floss. A Waterpik may penetrate up to 7mm below the gum line, making it an effective way to manage and prevent periodontal infections. Water flossing has also been found to be effective at improving the condition of bleeding gums.
The Importance Of Oral Hygiene
Not only is a high standard of oral hygiene important for healthy gums and teeth, but it also plays a role in your overall health and wellbeing. In order to support dental health, it is recommended that you brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day and floss once a day at least. If you wear braces, you should be cleaning your teeth three times a day or after every meal and flossing daily too.
While a Waterpik may do a superior job at plaque removal, you still need to visit your dentist every six months for a check-up and professional cleaning. Any problems can be picked up early and treated.
If you would like to know more about the topic ‘are water flossers better than string floss’ or what you can do to improve your oral hygiene, please give us a call to speak to a professional: (02) 9159 6237.
Evaluation of the plaque removal efficacy of a water flosser compared to string floss in adults after a single use
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Is Water Flossing Better Than String Flossing?