water-flosser

Why do I need a Water Flosser?

A water flosser is a great tool for tartar removal, as well as eliminating plaque, and bacteria, and foo particles stuck in those hard-to-reach areas. By regularly rinsing these often overlooked spots, you can decrease the risk of contracting gingivitis or other gum-related infections.

Let’s back up just a minute … we discussed in our last blog why it’s so important to floss your teeth. So, let’s quickly re-cap!

Read more: Oral Health: The Importance of Flossing Your Teeth

Importance of Flossing Your Teeth

People who floss regularly have healthier gums.

Why?

  • Less gum bleeding
  • Less gum disease
  • Less bone loss
  • Less inflammation

Adding dental floss into your daily oral hygiene routine will help remove plaque and eliminate bacteria that can lead to gingivitis, tooth decay, and bad breath.

The main thing to remember is that you should brush your teeth, floss, and use mouthwash every day! Any type of floss will improve your oral health and pick up bacteria that your toothpaste and toothbrush left behind.

So, Why Don’t You Floss?

We have previously talked about why flossing is so important, but lets discuss barriers to flossing and why so few patients consistently floss their teeth despite the benefits.  

1. “It hurts my gums to floss.”

    • Bleeding or painful gums when flossing is not normal. While this can deter you from flossing, it is actually a sign that you need to see your dentist.
    • Bleeding or painful gums could be a sign of gum disease. 
    • Consistent flossing will help prevent gum disease from occurring.

2. “I forget or it takes too long.”

    • Flossing should not be an activity that takes more than 4-5 minutes.
    • When you initially begin flossing it will take you longer because you are learning the proper technique.
    • Pro Tips if you typically forget to floss:
      • Leave your floss/water flosser out on the counter by your toothbrush so it is in your line of sight.
      • Put a sticky note on your mirror that says, “Remember to Floss!!”

3. “Its too difficult.” 

    • Many patients have dexterity problems that prevents them from being able to properly floss. 
    • This could be due to arthritis, injury, or stroke, crowded teeth, or inexperience with how to properly floss. 
    • Luckily there are many alternatives to traditional string floss to help you out. 

What Flossing Option is Best for You?

Now lets talk about options for flossing and what will work best for you.

1. Traditional string floss

    • Traditional floss works by using a thin piece of string, gently pushing it down in between your teeth. You then gently move the floss up and down in a C-shape to scrape the plaque and bacteria off of your teeth. 
    • Perks of Traditional String Floss:
      • Very inexpensive
      • Easy to carry around with you
      • Available in a variety of textures and sizes to fit your needs. 
    • Downside to Traditional String Floss:
      • It is very technique sensitive and if you put too much pressure it can cause your gums to bleed and be sore
      • Can be difficult to use around permanent retainers, braces, and dental bridges

2. Floss Picks and Proxy Brushes

    • These options are great for on-the-go flossing. 
    • Perks:
      • They are a one-time-use flosser that are easy to take on the go and easy to use
    • Downside:
      • They do not easily clean around permanent retainers
      • The floss itself does not adapt to the teeth as well

3. Water Flosser

    • Our last category is water flosser. These can work well for any patients and alleviate the problem of flossing being too difficult. 
    • Studies have shown that water flossers are actually more effective than traditional string floss. 
    • Perk:
      • Do not hurt your gums
      • They clean around all types of dental work
      • More effective than traditional string floss
    • Downside:
      • Initial cost
      • Need to be plugged in or charged
      • Can take up more space on your counter

Related Articles:

Oral Health Tips & Tricks: How to Care for Your Toothbrush

The Best Water Flossers – according to Wirecutter

Pick One & Floss Daily

Now that you know the differences between these types of floss, choose what works best for you. Whatever helps keep you motivated to floss daily will be the best option and be sure to talk with your dentist about any questions you may have.

Remember, dental cleanings are important for continued preventative care. Although you may be brushing and flossing your teeth really well at home every day, tarter and plaque is impossible to remove with regular brushing and flossing, and builds up over time. Dentists are able to use specific tools to remove that plaque and tarter, keeping your mouth cleaner and your chances of other complications much lower.

Work with Dr. Luff and her team to find the most effective solution for your smile! We are always accepting new patients in the Lee’s Summit, MO and surrounding area who are ready to improve the health of their teeth, their confidence and smile! Please call Luff Dental at (816) 875-3391 to schedule your appointment.

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