It’s no secret that proper oral hygiene is absolutely critical to a healthy smile. The tools of the trade— floss and a toothbrush — help to remove harmful, cavity-causing bacteria. While these tools are non-negotiable aspects of good oral hygiene, there are plenty of types of toothbrushes and interdental cleaners to choose from.
When it comes to cleaning between your teeth, many patients want to know if they should use traditional floss or a water flosser. The truth is, the best choice will depend on many personal factors like the current state of your oral health and your own preferences. To explain more about the pros and cons of both options, the dental professionals at Dentistry of Nashville give a brief overview of traditional floss and water flossers.
Why Is Interdental Cleaning Important?
According to a study from the American Academy of Periodontology, more than one-third of Americans would rather do an unpleasant activity like clean the toilet, sit in gridlock traffic or wash a sink full of dirty dishes than floss. Despite this common attitude toward flossing, it is still crucial for removing plaque in hard-to-reach areas.
Simply brushing your teeth is only half of the work. Food particles and plaque tend to get stuck and accumulate between the teeth. This is also an area where cavities will typically develop if patients don’t floss. Other important reasons to make interdental cleaning a priority include:
- Avoiding plaque hardening into tartar
- Enjoying a whiter smile
- Avoiding bad breath
- Avoiding gum disease
The Pros And Cons Of Using Floss
Flossing is one of the oldest forms of oral care and dates all the way back to prehistoric times. Although flossing has been around for a long time, it wasn’t formally patented until the mid-1800s by Asahel M. Schurtleff. The design of the pack of floss included a cutter, which is very similar to the way floss packs are sold today.
There are a variety of options to choose from for traditional floss as well. Some of your options include dental pics with pre-cut floss strings or strands of floss you cut yourself. There are also different flavors along with waxed or unwaxed floss.
Some of the pros of using traditional floss include:
- Easy to store and transport
- Easy to control
Some of the downsides to traditional floss include:
- More time consuming
- Less thorough
The Pros And Cons Of Using A Water Flosser
For some patients, traditional string floss may not be the best option. This is especially important for patients who are dealing with periodontal disease. When patients develop periodontal disease, the gum tissue will pull away from the teeth to create deep pockets that are hard to reach with traditional floss. Food particles and plaque can easily get trapped, thus worsening the state of their periodontal health. A water flosser can be more effective for these patients than traditional string floss.
A study conducted by the University of Amsterdam Academic Center for Dentistry found that a water flosser was twice as effective as string floss for reducing gingival bleeding. Researchers used 104 subjects over a 30-day period and found significant improvements in gingival bleeding.
Some of the notable benefits of using a water flosser include:
- Gentler on gums
- Less time consuming than string floss
- Easier to handle
- Optimal for patients with braces, dental implants or severe periodontal pockets
Some of the cons of water flossers include:
- More expensive than string floss
- Less travel-friendly than traditional floss
When Should I Opt For A Water Flosser?
If financially feasible, a water flosser is an ideal option for certain patients. For patients completing orthodontic treatment, a water flosser makes it much easier to remove plaque when metal wires and brackets are in the way. According to a study conducted by BioSci Research Canada, a water flosser is 3 times as effective as string floss for orthodontic patients.
For patients with dental implants, periodontal care should especially be a priority to preserve the longevity of their restorations. A water flosser is also an optimal option because it’s more effective at reducing gingival bleeding for these dental implant patients. A study from Tufts University, School of Dental Medicine found a reduction in the incidence of bleeding on probing with patients who used a water flosser.
Contact Dentistry Of Nashville
Whether you choose to use string floss or a water flosser, it’s important to remove plaque in these hard-to-reach areas each day. If you have any other questions regarding your dental health or oral hygiene, don’t hesitate to contact our office at (615) 383-3690.