How many times have you gone to your dental office and the dentist or hygienist tells you to "floss more" or "angle your floss better"? Do you even floss? Are you a diligent flosser who still has bleeding or sensitivity? Do you have a difficult time maneuvering floss in your mouth? Does floss get "stuck" in your teeth?
Why do we even have to floss?
Floss is recommended to be used 1 time a day with brushing to help remove food that is trapped and the bacterial film left over by food: both of which can harden into plaque. If plaque remains in between the teeth, it can lead to gingivitis or cavities. Floss is thin enough that it gets into the tight areas that toothbrush bristles cannot. (1) By flossing 1xday and brushing 2xday, you should have perfect gums and teeth, right? Wrong!
There are many different reasons why floss may not work. For some populations, adolescent or elderly patients, people may not be able to properly and efficiently maneuver floss in between all their teeth.
If you have been told multiple times that you have bleeding gums, inflammation, or high risk of decay; a Water Pik may be the better option for you.
Water Piks are 51% more effective for reducing gingivitis when compared to floss, twice as effective as dental floss at reducing bleeding gums, and 29% more effective at removing plaque than floss. (2)
One of the main benefits of Water Piks is that it uses a pulsating action to expel bacterial film that is located underneath the gum tissue (this is the bacteria that causes inflammation and bleeding). Once you get your routine down the Water Pik, it is often times easier than floss! It is able to reach deeper pockets more effectively than floss, it takes one minute to thoroughly clean the entire mouth, and requires less dexterity. (3)
For more information, check out these links, or talk to your Plymouth, MN dentist at your next visit to Life Smiles family dentistry.
If you do want tips on how to use traditional floss, here is a tutorial.