If you have ever flossed your teeth, then you know just how annoying flossing is. On top of that, most people do not floss their teeth nearly as much as they should. Thanks to water flossing, this important dental hygiene practice is no longer annoying, and is much easier to do.
Dental hygiene overall is becoming more and more popular. Whether it be whitening your teeth with teeth whitening kits, teeth whitening strips, or getting a set of pearly white veneers at your dentist office, an attractive and white smile says a lot about a person.
However, one aspect of dental hygiene that is often overlooked is flossing.
In this article, we are going to discuss what water flossing is, how water flossing works, the benefits of water flossing, and will be comparing water flossing vs regular flossing.
What is Water Flossing and How Does Water Flossing Work?
Water flossing has been around for a few years now, and just recently has started to climb in popularity.
Water flossing uses a steady stream of pulsating water to remove food particles, plaque, bacteria, and more from around and between your teeth.
This is done using a product such as the Waterpik water flosser. These products usually come in a stationary model or a hand-held model for traveling. The stationary model has a reservoir which is filled with water. It then has a water tub running to a hand held water flosser. On the end of the flosser is an attachment in which the water shoots out in a steady stream.
Once you fill the water tank up, you select a water pressure setting. This adjusts how fast the water comes out of the flosser. Once the water pressure is set, you turn the machine on and hold the end of the water flosser an inch or two away from you teeth.
You then move the tip of the attachment throughout your entire mouth, letting the steady water stream floss all areas of your teeth.
The stream of water is very thin and has a lot of force behind it, depending which setting the water pressure is set to. It does an excellent job of removing food, bacteria, and plaque from all areas of your teeth/gums.
The nice thing about water flossing is that you can floss all areas of your teeth/gums. The front, back, and in between all of your teeth.
Water flossing may take you a few times to get used to, but once you get the hang of it, flossing is no longer annoying. You will literally be able to floss your entire mouth in a minute or two.
As with string flossing, you should water floss at least once daily in order to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.
Water Flossing VS. Regular Flossing
Regular flossing uses a thing string to go in between your teeth. The string is then moved up and down and removes bacteria, plaque, and debris by scrapping the string against your teeth. Water flossing uses a thin but powerful steady stream of water which wipes out food particles, bacteria, and plaque from all areas of your teeth.
Regular flossing can be time consuming, even if you are using a plastic floss pick. Not only is it time consuming, but regular flossing often leaves your gums bleeding and very sore after-wards. Flossing with a water flosser can be done within a minute or two and is nice and gentle on your gums. It is recommended that you start at a low water pressure and work your way up when you first start water flossing.
When regular flossing, you can only floss in between your teeth, therefore leaving bacteria and plaque along your gum-line on the front and back of every tooth. When water flossing, you are able to floss every single portion of your teeth. This means you can clean in between your teeth, and you can clean out the gum-line on the front as well as the back of each tooth.
When regular flossing, you will often be using dirty string. When you floss in between two of your teeth one time, that string is then dirty. You then move to the next pair of teeth and use that same dirty string to floss between those teeth. This continues until your whole mouth has been flossed. Unless you are using a new piece of string or a new flossing pick in between every tooth, then this is inevitable.
This is not the case with water flossing. Water is constantly pumped out of the flosser in a steady stream, so there is no reused or dirty water being used for flossing.
Regular flossing can be difficult to do for some people. Often times there are places that are hard to reach, therefore those areas do not get properly flossed. Also, it may be difficult for you to get the floss string between some teeth. This means you cannot floss between those teeth.
Regular flossing will cost you less money, however water flossing could end up costing less money in the long run, depending on how long your water flosser lasts. Most water flosser cost $50-$75 up front, while a pack of flossing picks costs a couple bucks.
What Works Better Regular Flossing or Water Flossing?
Lets take a look at which method is better, water flossing or string flossing.
There are a ton of studies out there on this. Some show regular flossing as being better and others show water flossing as being better. Most dentists recommend that if you are going to water floss, then you should at least still do some regular flossing a few times a week.
While the water flosser does a good job, many dentists say that the scraping which the string does in regular flossing, does a more effective job at removing plaque. The water flosser supposedly just rinses the plaque away and does not scrape it away. With that said, we have put water flossing to the test, and on the highest water pressure, we have effectively removed plaque that was built up on the back of some teeth.
So the higher the water pressure, the more effective water flossing can be at genuinely removing plaque.
Other studies have shown that those who use water flossers have shown a 74% removal of plaque whereas those who string floss show a 57% removal of plaque.
There have also been studies that show those who water floss also have a greater reduction in gingivitis.
The bottom line here is that if you want to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible then you should do a combination of string flossing and water flossing.
Benefits of Water Flossing
Lets take a look at some of the main benefits of water flossing.
Very easy to use – The first couple times you water floss, it may take a little getting used to. Once you get the hang of it, you will be flossing your entire mouth in just a few minutes at the most.
Effective – Water flossing is an effective way to remove plaque, bacteria’s, and food particles from you teeth.
Easy to floss hard to reach areas – Water flossing makes flossing all of those hard to reach places easy to floss. Flossing between those back molars, or flossing between teeth that have very little space between them has never been easier.
Great for braces – Water flossing is good for braces. It is a great way to remove any plaque build up, bacteria, or food debris from braces. This is impossible with string flossing. Water flossing is very effective for those with braces.
Allows flossing of entire teeth and gum line – Water flossing allows you to floss between your teeth as well as allows you to floss the gum line along the front and back of your teeth. This cannot be done with string floss.
Sensitive on gums – Water flossing is sensitive on your gums and results in minimal to zero gum bleeding. If you are new to water flossing, you should be sure to start out on a low water pressure and move up slowly. This will allow your teeth and gums to get used to water flossing.
Multiple attachments – Most water flossers come with multiple attachment heads. For example, the Waterpik comes with a jet tip for every day flossing, an orthodontic tip for braces, a plaque seeker tip for dental work/implants, a pik pocket tip for peridontal pockets, a tongue cleaner tip to clean your tongue, and a toothbrush tip for brushing.
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits to water flossing. Most of these benefits are benefits that you do not get from string flossing.
The cons of water flossing
Now lets discuss some of the main cons of water flossing.
Can be pricey up front – As we mentioned, the up front cost is usually $50-$75 for a water flossing system. However in the long run it can pay for itself.
Requires electricity to run – A water flosser does require electricity in order to work. The portable water flossers usually come with a charging dock, so you will need to charge the portable flosser in order to use.
Need space to place water flosser – The water flosser does need a place to sit while you use it or store it.
Why Flossing is Important
Flossing is an extremely important part of dental hygiene and should be done daily. By not flossing, you are opening your teeth and mouth up to a wide variety of issues.
Those who do not floss on a daily basis are at risk of:
Gum disease/Gingivitis – this is when your gums bleed after brushing your teeth. If your gums bleed after brushing or flossing, this more than likely means that you have gum disease. Gum disease, if not cleared up can actually spread into your blood stream and cause other health issue.
Halitosis – this is bad breath. By not flossing, you are allowing bacterias to grow and sit in your mouth. Over time these bacterias build up and live on your tongue or throat and cause your breath to become very bad smelling.
Tartar build up – tartar is formed when plaque sits on your teeth and becomes hard. When you do not floss, you are letting the plaque on your teeth become hard. Once plaque turns into tartar, it can be extremely hard to get rid of.
Tooth decay/cavities – not flossing allows bacteria to thrive in your mouth which can cause tooth decay and cavitites. This allows the acid in your mouth to eventually attack the enamel on your teeth. Once that happens, your dentin is exposed and your teeth will begin to rapidly deteriorate. This all can be avoided by flossing daily.
Tooth loss – gum disease can lead to premature tooth loss. When you have gum disease, your gums will begin to pull away from your teeth. This creates a gap between your gums and teeth. In this gap, bacteria will begin to grow and begin to weaken and take over your teeth. This will result in premature tooth loss.
Yellow teeth – why wait until your teeth are yellow and you need to seek out a teeth whitening product to get your teeth white again? When you floss, you remove any plaque or debris from in between your teeth. If you use a water flosser, then you remove this from all areas of your teeth. This ensures that your teeth look as white and clean as possible.
There are just a few of the major reasons you should floss your teeth on a daily basis. While it might seem like a pain, the payoff is worth it. Flossing every day for a few minutes is a lot better than having to deal with any of the above issues.
Conclusion on Water Flossing
As you can see, the benefits of water flossing outweigh the cons of water flossing. If you are someone who hates flossing your teeth or someone who finds string flossing to be difficult, then you should definitely give water flossing a shot.
There are a lot of different water flossers out there, however Waterpik seems to be on top of the game. If you are going to purchase a water flossing system, just make sure you do your research and read user reviews before buying.