Whoever said, “A little water never hurt anyone,” clearly never made the trek to the Grand Canyon. That water sliced right through solid rock as if it were hydrogen peroxide through coffee stains on enamel. They also obviously never witnessed the devastation caused by a tsunami. Or a hurricane. Or a surging river… or a typhoon.
In other words, water can be a very powerful force. And if water can quite literally move mountains, then it must certainly be able to clean teeth. At least, that’s the whole idea behind water flossers—also known as oral irrigators.
While most people are accustomed to flossing with string, if you’re contemplating switching to a water flosser then you’re in good company. An increasing number of people are abandoning cumbersome string floss for the convenience of an oral irrigator.
But before you go and introduce a new tool to your dental care routine, you might want to know more about it. After all, the brightness of your smile depends on it.
Do I Even Need to Floss in the First Place?
String, water, toothpick, organic fibre, plaque-zapping laser… we don’t care. Just please floss.
If you brush your teeth twice daily and have minty-fresh breath, flossing might seem like something that you don’t necessarily have to do. But trust us, it is one of the most important aspects of any dental care routine.
Flossing removes plaque and food debris that your toothbrush and mouthwash cannot. Even the smallest piece of food that becomes stuck in between your teeth or in your gum line will encourage the growth of bad bacteria. The type of bad bacteria that leads to gum disease and, gulp, yellow smiles.
Flossing twice daily before you brush your teeth is one of the surest ways to brighten your smile and improve your oral health.
What is a Water Flosser?
A water flosser or an oral irrigator is any dental care tool that uses pulsating streams of water to remove plaque and food debris from your teeth and gum line. They kind of look like electric toothbrushes, just replace the bristles with a steady stream of water.
Oral irrigators draw their supply from a “water reservoir” that you will have to fill regularly. Both tap water and distilled water should work just fine but you’ll want to ensure that the water and the water reservoir are always clean.
The higher-quality water flossers will have adjustable pressure settings and different jet patterns so that you can more efficiently and easily remove plaque and food debris.
Does Water Flossing Work?
If water can carve the Grand Canyon, it can definitely carve through plaque and food debris. Even so, not all water flossers are up to the task of improving your oral hygiene.
Before you go out and use the garden hose as an oral irrigator, you’ll want to make sure that your water flosser has the dentists’ seal of approval. The American Dental Association provides a list of approved oral irrigators that they have shown to reduce the risk of gingivitis and gum disease. Check it out before clicking “Next Day Delivery” on your oral irrigator Amazon purchase.
Water Flossing vs. String Flossing
Unless you have a specific dental or oral condition, your dentist probably won’t care whether you opt for traditional string dental floss or water flossing. The most important thing is that you floss.
Traditional string floss does come in easy-to-store and easy-to-transport packages that make it more convenient than water flossers for frequent fliers. Also, if you have limited counter space or storage in your bathroom, an oral irrigator can take up quite a bit of space—unless you can find one with a tiny water reservoir.
In terms of effectiveness as a way to remove plaque and food debris, however, traditional floss and water flossers are about equal. Even though most dentists still recommend string floss, any of the water flossers on the ADA’s approved list can be just as effective at maintaining pristine oral hygiene.
Is Water Flossing Right for You?
Traditional flossing using string isn’t for everyone. If you’ve ever had braces or bridges, you can attest to the impossibility of using string to floss to clean your teeth. It’s frustrating enough to make anyone give up on oral hygiene altogether… but for the sake of your smile, please don’t.
Oral irrigators are an excellent alternative for anyone with braces or bridges. Similarly, if you have sensitive gums or are recovering from oral surgery, your dentist may recommend temporarily switching to an oral irrigator to reduce bleeding and speed recovery.
Talk to Your Dentist
Whether you choose to switch to a water flosser or stick with your traditional string floss, the important thing is that you do floss twice a day. However, harnessing the power of water to brighten your smile is pretty cool.
If you have any further questions about water flossers and whether or not using one would be right for you, contact your plumber… we mean dentist. At Portrait Dental, we’re always happy to answer your questions so reach out to us today and let us know how we can help brighten your smile.