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Dental Floss vs Water Pick: Which Is Better?

Dental Floss vs Water Pick: Which Is Better?

When it comes to maintaining good oral hygiene, we all know that we’re supposed to brush our teeth twice a day. Most of us also know that we’re supposed to floss, but that doesn’t stop many of us from avoiding doing so. 

The problem is that research shows that brushing alone isn’t enough to prevent interproximal cavities. These cavities are a result of food particles and plaque getting stuck between the teeth and never being removed. 

So, flossing is a must, but what’s the best way to do it? Read on in this blog from Refresh Valley Dental to find out how water picks stack up against thread dental floss.

person with floss

The Pros and Cons of Regular Dental Floss

Regular thread floss is the traditional way that people floss their teeth and has been used for centuries. It’s advised that you grab about 18 inches of thread floss and wrap it around your finger until you can pull a small section taut and use that to scrape the sides of your teeth down to the gum line in a “C” shape. 

Pros: This is the most effective way to remove plaque and food particle buildup from between the teeth. Thread floss is also very affordable and simple to use. It’s easily accessible, as you can get it anywhere that they sell teeth cleaning products. 

Thread floss is also a lot easier to control, as you determine how much thread to use, how tight to hold it, and how you run it along your teeth. Patients can thoroughly clean each tooth with precision.

Cons: Despite all the benefits of thread floss, it still has limitations. A common irritation with thread floss which discourages so many people from flossing regularly is that it can make your gums bleed if you’re too forceful or even if you just aren’t used to flossing.

Thread floss may not be the best choice for patients with sensitive gums. It can also be difficult to reach certain areas of the mouth, such as the back teeth. This would be even more difficult for patients with dexterity issues. 

The Pros and Cons of a Water Pick

A water pick or water flosser is an oral irrigator that cleans the teeth by shooting out a stream of pressurized water from a handheld machine. While thread floss uses a scraping method to remove plaque and food particles, water flossers use water pressure.

Pros: The biggest appeal of a water pick is that it makes it easier to reach hard-to-reach areas like the back teeth. If you have difficulty opening your mouth wide or if you have a physical disability that causes limitations in dexterity, a water pick can help you clean these teeth more easily.

A water pick also avoids the common complaint of bleeding from flossing. This is because instead of scraping your gums with a string, a stream of water is spraying out at high pressure. 

The ease of use and ability to clean hard-to-reach areas make water picks a great option for patients with fixed restorations and orthodontics like braces, dental bridges, crowns, and dental implants. 

This dental work makes it more difficult to keep the teeth clean because food particles can become trapped beneath the restorations or the braces and obscure the surfaces that need cleaning.

Cons: While a water pick can bring a lot of value, it has a much steeper price tag than regular thread floss. It can also be messy and difficult to figure out how to use in the beginning. Most importantly, a water pick cannot remove all of the plaque and food particles from between the teeth as thread floss can. 

What Is More Effective?

While a water pick has its advantages for patients who are wearing braces, have fixed restorations, or have very sensitive gums due to gum disease, it’s not a substitute for traditional flossing. 

That being said, the ADA’s only recommendation when it comes to flossing is that you do it once per day in addition to brushing twice a day. 

While most dentists will recommend using traditional floss unless you have a reason to benefit from using water picks (such as dexterity issues, gum sensitivity, or fixed prostheses) the best way to promote good oral hygiene is to choose something that you’ll stick with daily. 

If water picks are what will motivate you to more regularly floss, then by all means, that might be the best choice for you.

Schedule Your Next Preventative Dental Appointment At Refresh Valley Dental

To prevent tooth decay and gum disease, you must regularly practice good oral hygiene at home and attend regular preventative dental appointments every 6 months. 

Dental cleanings and checkups remove plaque and tartar buildup and detect early warning signs of oral health problems. Contact us at Refresh Valley Dental today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Aurora.

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