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What’s Better: Using Dental Floss or a Water Flosser?

What's Better: Using Dental Floss or a Water Flosser?

We’re often asked by patients whether it’s better to use dental floss or a water flosser (like a Waterpik), also known as an oral irrigator. Each one has its pros and cons. However, if you’re just looking for a quick answer, dental floss is the superior option for maintaining your oral health. But using both can be a highly effective part of your oral care regimen.

Pros of Dental Floss

Dental floss is highly effective. Here are some reasons it’s so good when considering which flossing option to choose:

  • Inexpensive
  • Great at cleaning in the tight spaces between teeth
  • Scrapes plaque off the sides of your teeth
  • Gets rid of plaque that turns into tartar, which promotes tooth decay and gum disease

Cons of Dental Floss

Dental floss does have some drawbacks. In particular:

  • It can be irritating or painful and cause bleeding in people with sensitive gums
  • It’s hard to use when you have braces
  • It’s also less effective when you have braces

Pros of Water Flossers

Water flossers definitely have their benefits, and even offer some advantages over dental floss. They’re:

  • Gentle and much less likely to cause irritation, pain, or bleeding in people with sensitive gums
  • Easier to use – especially with braces
  • More effective at cleaning behind the wires of braces
  • Good for flushing particles and bacteria out of the pockets that form when the gums recede from the teeth if you have gum disease

Cons of Water Flossers

Water flossers have one significant downside that makes them less preferable when you’re deciding whether to use dental floss or a water flosser:

  • They don’t remove plaque from the teeth as effectively as floss
  • Also, quality ones are more expensive than floss
  • And they can be a little messier than floss, too

Conclusion: Dental Floss or a Water Flosser?

Again, because a water flosser doesn’t remove plaque as effectively as dental floss, it’s not an adequate substitute. After all, this is the main goal of flossing. Proper brushing and flossing with dental floss at least twice per day are important daily habits for promoting oral health.

But using a water flosser in addition to dental floss is a great idea. It’s especially useful if you have braces, and it can help you achieve a superior clean if you have sensitive gums or gum disease.

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About the Author: Robert T. Ogden, D.D.S.

Dr. Robert T. Ogden D.D.S. is an independent orthodontist serving Central Florida since 1994, and is proud to be the affordable option for local families who want straight teeth that lead to perfect smiles, all backed by a kind and friendly staff that instantly makes you feel at home. We take the time to explain all of your options, from In-Ovation C clear braces or SPEED System metal braces to clear aligners like Invisalign™. Plus, our state-of-the-art offices are designed to make your visit as fast and comfortable as possible. Schedule your free consultation today!

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Promoting Oral Health
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