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Water Flossing vs. Traditional Flossing

Young woman using a water flosser

Flossing is an important part of proper oral care. Without flossing, plaque can grow in between your teeth and if left for 24 hours, will harden into tartar that can only be removed professionally in a dental office. Thankfully, at home care technology such as water flossing makes it easier than ever to practice healthy at home oral hygiene during your oral routine.

What is water flossing?

Water flossing, like regular flossing, is used to clean in between teeth to remove plaque buildup and food that may have gotten stuck. Although there are several different types of water flossers, they all primarily work by creating a stream of pressurized water powered by an electric motor. The water is typically stored in a reservoir attached to the device and will need to be periodically refilled. Some water flossers even can be used to brush and floss at the same time although these types of water flossers may run at a higher cost. Water flossing, when added to your daily oral care routine, can provide an additional level of care to your teeth that can help protect against periodontal disease, tooth decay, and cavities. Gum disease in particular has even been linked to compromising your heart health. Water flossers are completely safe to use and most of the popular brands and models come with an ADA seal of acceptance.

Benefits of a water flosser

There are many benefits to water flossing. Many individuals do not know the proper way to floss which can lead to improper cleaning or may cause irritation to your gums. Water flossing is generally less intensive and does not require you to put your fingers in your mouth to reach some difficult areas. Water flossers also may come with a variety of comfort options to make the experience more pleasant while also working to clean teeth. Additionally, water flossers may be quicker to use making it seamless and quick to add into your oral health routine. Water flossers may even have a built-in timer that makes the process two minutes or less, meaning that there is less of an excuse not to floss. If that was not enough, water flossers are also much easier to use and do not require any intensive techniques the same way flossing does, making the process much easier and more convenient.

What is the difference between water flossing and regular flossing?

It is generally recommended that water flossing should not be used as a substitute for regular flossing. While water flossing and traditional flossing both work to improve oral health specifically between teeth or in hard to reach places, a traditional string floss or pick can provide better results in removing plaque because it scrapes against the teeth directly. When used as supplemental to your normal care routine water flossing can provide a healthier mouth and help protect against periodontitis or receding gums. Water flossers may be particularly beneficial if you have braces where there are more difficult to reach places and food can get trapped around brackets, or if you have dry mouth in which the additional water can provide moisture and some symptom relief.

Should I buy a water flosser?

A water flosser isn’t required to be part of your oral care routine the same way that brushing and regular flossing is, but it does provide a worthwhile additional benefit in fighting against gum disease. If you meet with your dentist and they are frequently telling or reminding you that you need to floss a bit better, a water flosser may help to provide better care.

Additionally, if you constantly find yourself forgetting to floss, or if you find it inconvenient or painful, a water flosser is better than not flossing at all. Because it is less invasive, water flossing can be a more enjoyable and simple experience that helps to keep your teeth and gums clean while creating minimal discomfort. If you don’t mind the time it takes to floss normally, remember to do it at least once per day, and are sure to floss properly you may find that you don’t actually need a water flosser added to the mix. Most individuals however may neglect this aspect of oral care and may want to look into the options available.

If used daily, traditional floss remains the most effective and efficient means of cleaning between the teeth so it is still best to try to work traditional floss into your oral care routine.

Contact Dental365

Our team of experienced dentists can help in deciding if a water flosser would benefit you based on your specific needs. At Dental365 we conveniently provide evening and weekend hours meaning there is always time to schedule you in for your regular cleaning or x-rays. If you are in need of general dentistry treatment, are suffering from periodontal disease, or have any concerns about your oral health, call us at or reach out by filling out a form on our contact page.


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