An important part of your oral care includes a daily routine of brushing your teeth, rinsing with mouthwash, and flossing. While you may have not noticed much discomfort with brushing or rinsing alone, irritation with flossing is a common concern.


Why worry about flossing?


The American Dental Association considers flossing an essential part of oral care. Brushing your teeth alone only gets about 60% of your mouth clean. That means that there is still almost half of your mouth that is needing to be cleaned and this is where dental flossing comes in.


Flossing can bring attention to your sensitive gums and you may even notice your teeth bleed when flossing. Pain from flossing can be a common problem, but it is important that this kind of pain is not ignored. It is also important that we do not stop flossing because of the pain. In fact, to stop flossing can often make the problem worse! Visit our previous blog post on pain and flossing for more information.


Water flossing


One possible solution to the problem of pain and bleeding with traditional dental floss could be using a water flosser. But is water flossing or dental floss the better answer? Let’s look at the pros and cons.


Water flossers were first invented in 1962 and use a pressurized stream of pulsating water to clean away food particles, bacteria, or plaque that is between the teeth and under the gumline. Some benefits of the water flosser include that they are very easier to use and less painful than standard dental floss. The water flosser has flexibility of different amounts of water pressure. There is also a variety of nozzles and tips for water flossers that will change how the flosser cleans and give you different experiences. The water flosser can also get into those hard-to-reach areas and between tightly spaced teeth.


Water flossers also have some cons. The biggest drawback is that they tend to be less affective at removing all the plaque completely from the teeth. These devices are also more costly than traditional string floss. Water flossers require a water tank and a power source to pump the water. Typically, they come with a reservoir to hold water while using it, and they either plug in or run on a battery. This can be an inconvenience, taking up space on the bathroom counter and being difficult to take with you. Finally, the water flosser can be messy.


Some populations that may benefit from a water flosser include those who wear braces, have crowns, have non-removeable bridgework, or who have dental implants. In addition, people with arthritis or other dexterity concerns may find traditional floss more difficult to use, and a water flosser could be a good option.


Traditional string dental floss


Traditional dental floss has pros and cons as well. Traditional floss dates back to prehistoric times and was first recommended for use in print in 1819. One of the benefits of traditional floss is the cost. It is very inexpensive, and it comes in many styles, types, and flavors. It is easier to control the traditional floss’s work than the water flosser. String floss allows you to wipe each tooth and the space between each tooth clean. Finally, traditional flossing can be done just about anywhere, and floss is easy to carry with you.


One disadvantage to traditional dental floss is pain and bleeding. Many people cite this as a reason for not flossing at all. It can also take more time than a water flosser to physically handle floss on each and every tooth. Traditional flossing has a learning curve. There is a skill involved that a user must learn in order to use it affectively and safely. Finally, traditional dental floss may be unable to reach certain areas of your mouth.


The bottom line is that flossing is important, and whichever method you choose, you need to do a thorough job. The best option is to discuss with your dentist a complete dental hygiene plan including flossing. At Danville Family Dentistry we help you determine which type of flossing is best for you and help you to have a smile you can be proud of. Contact us today! 317-745-4400


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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.