water flosser

Should You Use a Water Flosser?

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Everyone knows that flossing makes sense for good dental health. But many good folks consider this step a chore and even a total bore. What if there’s a way to make it a little easier and more effective at the same time?

When it comes to your teeth, flossing is an essential part of proper and thorough oral care. It’s important to know your options. I find that many patients just need to find something that works in their hands, and it’s not always an 18″ piece of string.

If you’ve never tried a water flosser, you might want to tune in. I’ll take a look at water flossers and how they just might make your daily dental care easy.

Why Should You Floss?

Before you decide to make the switch from dental floss to a water flosser, let’s explore why this step makes a big difference.

When you eat, tiny pieces of food debris can lodge between your teeth. These particles provide an energy source to the bacteria in the mouth and contribute to the sticky plaque that forms on your teeth. Bacteria produce harmful acids as a waster product that can wreak havoc on your teeth’s enamel. Have you ever seen what acid does to concrete? Similar problem!

Enamel is the hardest substance in your body. Harder than bone, enamel serves as a protective layer on the teeth. It’s essential that you routinely disrupt the formation of plaque to protect enamel and keep your gums healthy. With regular flossing, you can remove this gunk from the spaces between your teeth.

Of course, brushing your teeth twice per day should already part of your routine. This process scrubs (gently) away the plaque that sits on the surface of your teeth. But it’s not enough to get deep in between them, a surface area that comprises about 30% of the exposed tooth.

By now, you’re realizing where this is going: Flossing matters. When you floss, you’re getting into those itty bitty nooks and crannies to finish the job and maintain a cleaner mouth.

Traditional string floss works fine to get in between the teeth, but a water flosser is also a convenient alternative. Now, let’s find out more about these helpful tools so you can decide if they’ll work for you.

All About the Water Flosser

A water flosser is a small dental appliance that uses a powerful, thin jet of water to get in between your teeth. You can even mix the water with a bit of mouthwash for a fresh experience.

This ingenious invention is similar to a pressure washer used to clean off a sidewalk or deck. The powerful stream of water gets deep within the crevices of your teeth and gums to wash plaque and leftover food away.

If you decide to try a water flosser, you should do use it at least once per day. It’s a great option if you’re not really skilled at traditional flossing and you need something that’s quick, easy, and effective. Sometimes sticking string between your teeth doesn’t really do the job. Don’t get me wrong: Flossing is tried and true, but it’s just not the best in everyone’s hands.

If you have special orthodontic appliances like braces, classic string flossing can be super-tricky. A water flosser will get in between all of those super-tiny spots where plaque can otherwise seem impossible to remove.

Water flossers are also an excellent option for people who have slightly crooked teeth. It can be tough to get traditional floss in-between teeth that aren’t perfectly straight. The water flosser will help you get those tough spots with less stress.

Some people prefer the water flosser simply because it’s quick, easy, and it makes them feel like they’ve gotten every little spot cleaned out. In fact, you might even find that using a water flosser is fun!

Another bonus is that water flossing is safe to use with implants and other dental restorations. Most models have an adjustable feature to the flow of water so you can find the ideal setting for your mouth.

Other Important Water Flossing Tidbits

Initially, the cost for a water flosser is going to be quite a bit more than a supply of dental floss. But the benefits you reap will be much more impactful and rewarding.

If you decide to purchase a water flosser, keep in mind that they do require a bit of maintenance. You will need to clean it regularly to avoid any bacteria growth or dirt buildup.

Water flossers are much bulkier than dental floss, so they might not be the best thing to use when you’re traveling. If you travel, simply switch it out for a pack of dental floss, then return to using the water flosser when you get home. You might also consider a travel-size model when you hit the road.

A few brands use batteries to power the flosser, while others sit on a rechargeable base that plugs into the wall. The rechargeable version will be cheaper to maintain since you won’t need to worry about batteries.

You don’t need to use both regular dental floss and the water flosser. Choosing one or the other will be just fine. In fact, if you use both, it could cause bleeding gums, inflammation, or irritation.

If you just can’t seem to get that one piece of food dislodged from between your teeth, string floss might be the better alternative. Keep both handy just in case you need to switch between the two.

Make Your Teeth Happy

Even if you hate the act of flossing, a water flosser can make this daily habit fun and rewarding. Use your flosser once each day to keep pesky plaque and food particles at bay.

With a bit of practice, you’ll probably find that this appliance can actually make the act of flossing fun. Combine this will regular brushing and you’ll have a better chance at preventing cavities and gum disease.

For more on the latest in oral health gear and lots of helpful tips and reviews, check back in with us in the future!

About the Author Dr. Greg

Dr. Greg's experience in dentistry spans over 25 years serving patients of all ages. He's an advisor to www.emergencydentistsusa.com and a consultant to many professional dental projects.