Dentists often come across patients that simply don’t floss. They have every excuse for not flossing. This often makes dentists wonder if there’s a better way of flossing. Dental issues like periodontal disease and bleeding gums are serious and common. Even though flossing helps patients, in the opinion of many dentists, the reluctance to flossing is a hindrance on the way to sound dental health. Is there a solution to this situation? Many patients ask whether there’s any alternative to flossing. In this context, water flossers have emerged as an interesting alternative to the traditional string floss. In this post, we’ll look at Waterpik vs. flossing with string floss.
How do Waterpiks Work?
A Waterpik (or water flosser) involves the use of a water stream for removing biofilm. Besides dislodging food debris and plaque, a water flosser also flushes away bacteria that cause gingivitis and other oral infections, helping to prevent inflammation and gum disease.
Some data shows that when comparing Waterpik vs. flossing conventionally, both were equivalent to the removal of plaque biofilm. However, water flosser may have an edge in the removal of plaque. The oral microbiome has more complications than simply the ‘quantity of plaque’ present.
Bleeding gums and gum disease start through an increase in pathogenic bacteria. These take place in hidden pockets in the mouth. As bleeding gums progresses to become gum disease, a fluid increase to the crevice is there. These may have factors that help harmful bacteria growth.
Water flossers may have extra efficacy to fight this process.
Comparing Waterpik vs. Flossing Conventionally
Brushing teeth can be effective in eliminating food plaque from teeth surfaces. However, it can’t help you remove food that’s below the gum line or in between teeth.
The process of traditional flossing involves the use of a thin string, which is passed through the narrow space between the teeth. The user scrapes up and down each tooth surface with this string gently to dislodge food particles and plaque from the tooth and move them out from beneath the gums.
Advantages of traditional flossing:
- String flossing is highly effective in dislodging excess food from the teeth.
- String floss is quite inexpensive and easily available at any grocery store or pharmacy.
- Flossing using string floss can be carried out anywhere and is easy and quick.
Disadvantages of traditional flossing:
- It’s difficult to reach some areas of the mouth with string floss.
- String flossing can be accompanied by minor bleeding, especially if flossing is not done regularly.
- It can worsen or cause gum sensitivity.
- Some people may find it difficult to handle string floss sometimes.
Even with these demerits of traditional flossing, it’s still necessary to floss on a regular basis. If flossing is especially painful or difficult for someone, they should meet a dentist to ensure that a more serious problem in not there.
Using Waterpik to floss or water flossing differs from traditional flossing.
Waterpik involves the use of a special machine, which directs a water stream into the mouth and to the gums. Instead of scraping teeth for removing plaque, Waterpik employs the pressure of the water for pushing food away from teeth and massaging the gums.
Advantages of Waterpik:
- Waterpik offers ease of use, especially for those having braces or other kinds of dental work such as temporary or permanent bridges.
- The action of massaging can lead to an improvement in gum health as well as reach areas in the mouth that can’t be reached by traditional floss.
Disadvantages of Waterpik:
- Waterpik is expensive compared to traditional floss and requires space for storage.
- Access to water and electricity is needed to use it, which makes it troublesome to be used outside the home.
Comparison of Water Floss vs. Regular Floss
Is a Waterpik better than flossing conventionally? – This is an ongoing question with no right answer. What must be remembered is that cleaning under the gums and between the teeth every day is important.
A study in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry conducted a comparison of the effectiveness of a water flosser vs. string floss accompanied by the use of a manual toothbrush. The study indicated that the group that used Waterpik had a reduction in plaque by 74.4 percent and the group that used string floss had a reduction in plaque by 57.7 percent.
Other studies also indicated that people using Waterpik experienced more reduction in gum bleeding and gingivitis compared to those who used string floss.
However, many dental hygienists and dentists still recommend flossing with string floss, either instead of or in addition to water flossing.
Taking into account the comparison of water flossing vs. traditional flossing, choose the option that’s most convenient, comfortable, and preferred for you. Additionally, ensure that you consult your dentist on this ground to get their recommendation on which option is the best for you, and follow the advice.