July 2, 2019
When most of us are asked how often we floss, we might flounder around and avoid giving an honest answer. This is because the majority of people don’t do it nearly as much as we should. Those of us who do floss regularly can’t seem to settle the debate between traditional dental floss and water flossing. Which is better for you? Let’s take a closer look at each of them and their distinct advantages.
The Basics of Traditional Flossing
Flossing as we know it today has existed for more than two centuries. You simply slide a piece of string up and down between your teeth to remove plaque and food debris. When left behind, these particles can cause cavities and gum disease, so it’s important to make this a daily habit. Unfortunately, many people see it as too much of a hassle to do it every day.
All About Water Flossing
Water flossing has only been around since 1962, but it has exploded in popularity recently. It uses a device, called a water pick, to shoot a steady, gentle stream of water between your teeth to remove bacteria and food particles. However, the machine is a bit heavy and needs to be plugged in, so it’s not ideal for people with on-the-go lifestyles.
Advantages of Traditional Flossing
Many people say that you can’t beat the classics, and this is true for traditional flossing for a few reasons:
- Portability. Regular floss comes in tiny containers that can be placed anywhere, like your bathroom drawer, your purse, or your desk at work.
- Lower cost. You can find floss at most drugstore for less than $5 a pack. You’d be hard-pressed to find a water pick less than $20.
- No maintenance. Water flossers require upkeep such as refilling the container and possibly buying new batteries. On the other hand, you can simply throw away traditional floss after you use it.
Benefits of Water Flossing
Several people prefer water flossing for reasons such as:
- Simplicity. Water picks require less dexterity. This makes it easier for children or adults with certain conditions like Parkinson’s or arthritis.
- Easier cleaning around dental work. It can be hard to floss in between teeth when braces or bridges are in the way. Studies have shown that water flossing actually reduces plaque in people with braces more than traditional flossing.
- Gentleness on implants and restorations. You might be worried that regular flossing can yank out your restoration like a filling or crown. Although the chance of that happening is very slim, water flossing can put your mind at ease.
Ultimately, whichever floss option you choose is up to you. When in doubt, try both and see which one you like better.
About the Author
Dr. Manpreet Dhaliwal earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Detroit Mercy. He practices at two Washington offices, one in Maple Valley and the other in Kent. He is a people person who loves meeting new patients and helping their smiles reach their full potential. To contact Dr. Dhaliwal, visit his website or call (425)-413-8505.
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