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Do Water Flossers Get The Job Done?

You need to do a better job flossing.” We’ve all heard this during our dental visits. Most of us are not good at pulling out that long string of dental floss every day to get the job done. Water flossers exist, but are they a good substitute for regular flossing?

The answer is yes. A water flosser removes food from between teeth just like regular flossing, and they’re great for those hard to reach areas in the mouth that dentists term as “chronically undercleaned”—you know, the ones that your dental hygienist has to scrape the plaque from? The stream of water is a great tool for washing away bacterial toxins. But real floss works better for plaque removal because it wipes the sticky plaque off your teeth. The water flossers only rinse the area.

Water flossers are fantastic for patients with braces because they can flush food out from underneath braces and wires. They also work well for people with fixed dental work like bridges; regular water flossing will give you a cleaner mouth and fresher breath, and helps maintain the integrity of your bridgework—your food will even taste better! These powered flossers also work well for people with manual dexterity problems, such as younger children or older patients with arthritis.

Patients that get the best results combine use of regular floss with water flossing. It’s the best of both worlds. If you’re not a flosser though, using the water flosser alone is better than just brushing with no flossing at all. Just remember that most dental disease occurs in between teeth, an area where brushing doesn’t really do the trick.

There are lots of brands out there, from basic models to elaborate models with lots of bells and whistles. Talk to your dentist or hygienist about which option is best for you, but all of them use warm to hot water. Brush first, then do regular flossing to loosen debris. When you start to use the water flosser, lean over your sink so you don’t make a mess! If your gums are unhealthy, start on a lower power setting and ramp us as your gums improve. Rather than putting the floss string between your teeth, aim the water stream between each of your teeth. It’s best to start at the back and move forward; do this as a routine so you don’t miss any teeth. Do both the outsides and insides of your teeth, too. You might be surprised at all the gunk that comes out, even though you’ve just brushed your teeth. It’s important to not point the stream of water up or down directly into your gums as this can do damage. When you’re done, your mouth will feel clean and great.

You’re supposed to floss daily, so use of a water flosser on a daily basis is ideal. The whole routine—brush, floss, water floss—only takes about five minutes—a good investment of your time for a healthy mouth.

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