A Guide to Water Flossing

The ADA maintains that in order to achieve good dental hygiene for the prevention of cavities and gum disease you should ensure you are brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing your teeth a minimum of once daily. For those who dislike flossing, you may be asking, does this mean that traditional flossing is the only viable option? You may be encouraged to learn that there are alternatives to traditional flossing that may be even more effective.

In recent years, water flossing has gained ground as a popular alternative to traditional flossing. This article will discuss how water flossing works and whether it can stand as a viable option for effective tooth cleaning for long term dental health.

What is Water Flossing?

Water flossing is a method of cleaning your teeth that involves a special machine that directs a stream of water through the crevices between teeth and under the gum line to remove plaque, bacteria, and debris that may collect there. The water pressure both massages the gums and pushes food particles out from between teeth. The water flosser reaches the same areas that traditional floss does, without the hassle and challenge of string floss.

If you have challenges or difficulty with traditional flossing (or simply dislike the process of traditional flossing), water flossing may be a great option for you. It is easy to use and can eliminate the challenges that flossing presents for patients with braces or other types of dental work such as bridges.

Are Water Flossers as Effective as Traditional String Floss?

The simple answer is yes, water flossers can work just as effectively, if not more effectively, than traditional floss! The Journal of Clinical Dentistry recently published a study that compared the effectiveness of water flossers vs. stringed floss, both used in combination with a twice daily tooth brushing regimen. The researchers learned that those who used a water flosser experienced a reduction of 74+% reduction in plaque as compared to the traditional flossers who experienced only a 57+% reduction in plaque. This certainly is encouraging if traditional flossing is a challenge for you!

As well, similar studies also revealed that those using water flossers rather than traditional floss experienced a greater reduction in gingivitis and gum bleeding due in part to the massaging action that occurs through the water flossing process.

While some dentists maintain that traditional flossing should not be completely eliminated from your oral hygiene routine, certainly the water flosser could have a place in your flossing routine!

How to Effectively Use a Water Flosser

If you choose to invest in a water flosser for your dental hygiene routine, it is important that you learn how to properly use it for maximum results. There are several different types of water flossers on the market, but all typically work in the same manner. Here are basic tips for proper operation to ramp up your hygiene routine:

-Fill the reservoir with water in preparation for use. Use clean, filtered water when possible.

-Plug in your water flosser or charge the battery according to directions so that it is ready for use.

-When choosing a pressure level, start with a low setting and once you are comfortable with the setting you can increase the pressure for deeper cleaning.

-Use your flosser while leaning your mouth over the sink or in the shower. When using, place the flosser tip into your mouth and press your lips closed around it to prevent mess.

-With the unit on, aim the tip at or just above the gum line in between each tooth. Administer water pressure, starting with the back of the mouth and working forward.

-Pause briefly intermittently to spit out excess water that accumulates during the flossing process.

-Once completed with the flossing process, rinse with mouthwash or water to rid your mouth of excess food particles that are released.

When used properly, a water flosser can be well worth the initial financial investment it takes to get started. Not only can you experience results that are as good, if not greater from water flossing, it can save you time in your daily oral hygiene regimen. If flossing is a challenge or particular hassle for you, consider investing in a water flosser to ensure you are taking the best care of your teeth as possible.

At the end of the day, it is not necessarily HOW you floss, but that you DO floss that makes the greatest difference.  River Valley Smile Center is your partner in long term oral health.