If you dread hearing the question, “How often do you floss,” from your dentist you’re in good company. If you only floss the week before and after your dental checkups, you’re still flossing more often than most people in the US. The reason flossing is harder to stay on top of is that this daily oral hygiene task does not offer immediate improvement. In fact, for the first week or more that you floss, your gums may feel puffy, itchy, or even bleed. For many patients who just can’t get past the initial discomfort of traditional flossing, investing in a Waterpik or other water flossers may be a better solution.
Most people brush their teeth at least once a day, but flossing – that’s another matter. While flossing may not be your favorite daily task, it is one of the most important. When we brush teeth, the sticky, acidic biofilm called plaque is removed. However, even the most thorough tooth brushing will not remove plaque from between the teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. When you floss, plaque, food particles, and other debris are removed from sides of teeth, protecting your whole smile from tooth decay and gum disease.
Choosing a Traditional Floss
If you do want to use a traditional floss, there are numerous types and styles available. All types of floss will serve the purpose they’re intended for – removing plaque between teeth. Unlike other oral hygiene products, choosing a floss is largely a matter of personal preference. Both waxed and unwaxed floss will perform just as well. However, you should take into consideration the spacing of your teeth. Patients with large spaces between teeth may want to consider a thicker, more fibrous floss to ensure a complete clean, and those with crowded teeth should look for a thin, waxed floss to fit easily in even the tightest spaces. If you have difficulty flossing, flossers are tools that hold the floss strings for you. These make it easier for some patients to complete their daily flossing. Patients with bracket and wire braces should look for specialized floss that allows them to clean between teeth above and below the wires.
When to Consider a Waterpik
Waterpiks use pressurized water jets used to remove plaque and debris from between teeth. These water powered flossers are a great oral hygiene option for patients who:
- Need to clean around bracket and wire braces that can make flossing difficult
- Struggle with manual dexterity due to arthritis or other health concerns
- Have sensitive teeth or gums that make traditional floss painful or uncomfortable
- Suffer with chronic gum disease and want to ensure minimal plaque buildup remains on teeth
Meet the Dentists of Newtown
The Dentists of Newtown team members are firm believers in patient education. We go above and beyond to help patients better understand their oral health, improve daily dental hygiene, and give patients a reason to smile. If you want to learn more about flossing, Waterpiks, or other dentistry products or services, contact our caring Newtown dental team today. We’ll be happy to answer questions over the phone or schedule an appointment for you to talk with one of our skilled dentists.