Almost every time we go to the dentist, most of us go through the same exchange. “How often do you floss?” “Umm… Maybe about once every six months when I’m here for a cleaning?”
Flossing is one of the most important steps in a dental hygiene routine, but a lot of us neglect it. Because of this aversion to flossing, some people prefer to use a water flosser to keep their mouths clean. Read on to discover the difference between floss and a water flosser and which works better.
The Basics of Flossing
We’re all familiar with the general idea of flossing (or at least the vague idea that we should be doing it), but let’s take a quick dive into how flossing works. In essence, when you eat, small particles of food get trapped in the crevices between your teeth and your gums. Your toothbrush can’t get those out, and over time, they’ll start to decay.
Flossing uses a waxed piece of string to scoop the pieces of food out of those crevices. This prevents them from sitting on your teeth and causing tooth decay. It can also help prevent gum disease, which is linked to a whole host of medical ills.
What is a Water Flosser?
The truth of the matter, however, is that almost none of us floss as often as we should. It just seems like a pain somehow, and we don’t like sticking our hands in our mouths. Thus, in an effort to make flossing more convenient, the water flosser was born.
A water flosser works a little like one of those water sprayers your dentist uses during your regular cleanings, except on steroids. It uses water pressure to massage the gums and squeeze the food out from between those gaps in your teeth. It can even get to areas flossing can’t, especially for those of us with sensitive gag reflexes.
Pros of Flossing
One of the biggest advantages of flossing is the fact that it’s accessible to anyone. Your dentist will give you a little pack of floss at the end of every appointment that will probably last you at least a month. And when you run out, floss is cheap and easy to get.
It’s also tremendously portable. You can (and many people do) stick a pack of floss in your backpack, briefcase, purse, or toiletries kit and floss after lunch at work or while traveling. It takes a little extra time, but flossing is hands down the cheapest, easiest, and most efficient way to keep your teeth healthy.
Cons of Flossing
The trouble with flossing is that you have to do it by hand. This may not seem like a big deal until you’re trying to jam your fingers into your mouth to floss behind your back molars. It can also cause some minor bleeding and can be uncomfortable to do.
Flossing may also be a significant problem or impossibility for those with disabilities. If you have a nerve or muscle disorder, if you are an amputee, or if you’re just getting older, flossing may not be possible. It can also become challenging for people who have braces since you have to use a special floss threader to get under every bracket.
Pros of Water Flossing
The big advantage water flossing offers is that it’s easier to use than floss. If you have braces, a disability of some variety, or just a sensitive gag reflex, a water flosser can be a great way to keep your teeth clean without having to hassle with floss.
It turns out water flossing may also offer some additional oral health benefits that flossing doesn’t. The water flosser works by massaging the gums, which may be helpful for gum health. And even for people who have no trouble flossing, the water flosser may be able to get back to harder-to-reach areas of the mouth, including the wisdom teeth and molars.
Cons of Water Flossing
The problem with water flossing is that it isn’t nearly as affordable as floss is. A water flosser can cost between $40 and $100, a price that may be out of reach for many people. In comparison, a pack of floss costs about $1.50.
Water flossers also require a lot more maintenance and resources than floss does. You may have to worry about it breaking down, and at the least, it’s going to need water and electricity. Instead of flossing in the bathroom before your big meeting, imagine your boss walking in to see you hooking a water flosser up to the sink.
Which Is Better?
So when it comes right down to it, which technique is better? The answer depends on your personal circumstances and what your needs are.
If you’re looking for something that will be cheap, easy, and accessible everywhere, floss is a good option. If you have trouble using floss for whatever reason, a water flosser may be a good solution.
No matter which option you go with, make sure you’re cleaning those crevices between your teeth and your gums. Leaving that food there can mean tooth loss later in life, not to mention a host of more serious health problems.
Keep Your Teeth Beautiful
The choice of whether to use regular floss or a water flosser depends entirely on your personal preferences. The important thing is to keep your teeth clean so you can maintain that beautiful smile your whole life.
If you’d like to find the best dental care in Colorado, visit the rest of our site at Micklin Dental. We use a gentle approach to keep your teeth healthy and help you develop healthy oral hygiene habits for life. Contact us today to set up an appointment and keep your smile as beautiful as ever.