In case you haven’t heard, flossing has recently come under fire as dentists and scientists re-examine the evidence in favor of floss. What is under examination is the validity of the studies that argue in favor of flossing, however, not the century-plus of anecdotal evidence to suggest that flossing is, in fact, pretty important.
What news like this means, though, is that we have an opportunity to reexamine how we clean our teeth. What is the best way to go about it? What are the pros and cons of the different methods of teeth-cleaning? Beyond brushing your teeth with toothpaste, (which absolutely nobody disputes) a range of options exist for keeping your teeth clean. Today, we’re going to be looking at two of them: flossing, and using a waterpik.
So what is a waterpik?
Otherwise known as ‘oral irrigation,’ a waterpik is a device that gently sprays your teeth with a concentrated jet of water to dislodge food and plaque. It can be useful to use a waterpik, as the device can reach areas that might not otherwise be reachable with more conventional tooth-cleaning methods. Costing around $60 USD, however, the waterpik might be a bit out of the price range of the average consumer, especially when compared to the dollar or so that a pack of floss costs.
What may be more important, though, are the studies that show how a waterpik differs from flossing. One study suggested that waterpiks were around 20% more effective than flossing in reducing plaque and improving gum health. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t floss if you’re using a waterpik– most dentists agree that flossing is still one of the most effective methods of cleaning your teeth.
What about flossing?
Flossing, on the other hand, is tried and true. All you need is a box of floss and some know-how– most of the effectiveness of floss comes from using it properly. Likewise, most of the damage from flossing comes from doing it wrong! When you’re flossing, make sure that you’re not sawing at the gums. Especially if they’re already inflamed and sensitive, you may cause bleeding and discomfort. The proper motion is sliding the floss up and down the sides of your teeth to dislodge the food bits and plaque, making sure to gently clear beneath the gum-line.
Whether you’re flossing or waterpik-ing, there’s one thing you should take away from this: keeping your teeth healthy is important, no matter how you do it. Flossing reduces the amount of plaque found on teeth by around 57% when compared with just brushing. And when you say it like that, you can see how important it is that, without flossing, more than half of your mouth is going uncleaned!
If you want more information about how best to clean your mouth, don’t wait– contact Dr. Matthews today! We’re your number one resource for dental information in the Austin, TX area.