Should You Consider a Water Flosser?

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Brushing twice a day is essential for good oral health, but flossing is also important. There are many areas that your toothbrush can't easily reach, like between your teeth or along your gumline. Traditional string floss isn't the only way you can clean these hard-to-reach areas. Other products on the market can help with this task, such as a water flosser.

How Water Flossers Work

Water flossers are handheld devices used to remove food particles and plaque from the teeth. Before use, you fill the device with water. When you turn it on, it emits steady streams of water. You can then position the device in your mouth to clean between the teeth and along the gumline.

Reasons to Consider Water Flossing

There are many reasons why people might consider switching to water flossing. The American Dental Association (ADA)explains that water flossing can be an option for people who have difficulty using traditional floss. For people with arthritis, Parkinson's disease, carpal tunnel syndrome or other conditions that affect the hands, it can be hard to maneuver string floss around the teeth. In these cases, water flossing may be an easier way to clean between the teeth and along the gumline.

Dental work, like braces or bridges, can also be obstacles to flossing, explains the ADA. People who have trouble flossing around their dental work may benefit from an alternative like water flossing.

Effectiveness of Water Flossing

Is water flossing as effective as traditional string floss? A study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry reports that water flossing was 29 percent more effective than traditional flossing, with water flossers resulting in more successful plaque removal overall. Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry concludes that using a manual toothbrush and a water flosser was more effective in removing plaque than using a manual toothbrush and interdental brushes, another flossing alternative.

While these two studies seem like good news for water flossing enthusiasts, it's important to note that the sample sizes were small. Before you replace your tried-and-true string floss with a water flosser, it's a good idea to consult your dentist for advice.

To maintain good oral health, remember to floss once per day. If you have difficulty using traditional string floss, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about flossing alternatives, like water flossers. With your dental hygienist's help, you can determine the best way to clean between your teeth and achieve a healthy smile.

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