Is a Water Flosser Better Help to Me Than Dental Floss?

Woodhill Dental Specialties05/12/22

Flossing with braces is a bit more difficult than flossing without braces. Obviously, there’s a wire in the way now, so you can’t just slide the dental floss straight down between the teeth and start scrubbing. There are ways to get around the wire, but which way is the best? Flossing is essential during treatment, so you want to be sure you’re doing it right. 

At Woodhill Dental Specialties, we’ve seen many of the products, tips and tricks to flossing with braces. One of the most popular solutions is to use a water flosser from companies like Waterpik. But is that enough to do the job? Let’s find out!

What Is a Water Flosser?

What is a water flosser, and how does a water flosser work? A water flosser shoots a tiny, high-powered stream of water between your teeth to force out particles and plaque. Many people refer to a water flosser as a “Waterpik,” which is actually the name of a top brand of water flossers. 

The water flosser’s technical name is oral pulsating irrigator, because it uses water to force the food particles and plaque out. However, it’s not as effective as dental floss, though it’s a great supplemental tool in the fight against tooth decay and gum disease

Water Flosser Benefits

Water flossers have definite benefits. They do remove some food particles and plaque from between your teeth. If you have gums that are irritated or bleeding, water flossers tend to be more gentle than dental floss on your gums. Using a water flosser regularly does help reduce gum disease and tooth decay. 

Water flossers are also great at removing food from periodontal pockets — the little spaces between the gums that dental floss doesn’t always reach. Without removal, the stuck food particles can cause bleeding and infection in your gums. Water flossers also work well with temporary or permanent crowns, fillings, or veneers. 

Water Flossers for Braces

Water flossers are great for patients with braces because they can get around wires and brackets easily. They can not only blast food out from between teeth, but they can also remove food that might be stuck around brackets or under wires. Those are places your dental floss may not reach. 

Water Flossers vs. Dental Floss

We know water flossers work, but do they work as well as dental floss. Can a water flosser replace dental floss in your fight against tooth decay? 

Here’s the simple answer: No. Water flossers shouldn’t be used to take the place of actual dental floss, because they don’t work as well at removing plaque from between your teeth. When you use dental floss, you move it back and forth, scrubbing the sides of your teeth. A water flosser doesn’t have that scrubbing ability. While it removes a lot of the plaque and food particles, it will still leave a thin layer of plaque. Eventually, that could lead to tarter buildup and tooth decay. 

Dental floss is also portable and inexpensive, and you don’t have to worry about batteries or recharging. Dental floss can go anywhere, so you can use it after meals even when you’re out. It may seem more challenging to use dental floss with braces, but floss threaders can fix that problem. These devices look like thin plastic needles with giant eyes. The dental floss goes through the eye like thread, then you slide the floss threader under or over your archwire and through your teeth. Then you can floss just like you normally would.

Water flossers are a great supplemental tool for prevention of tooth decay and gum disease, but dental floss is still essential. You’ll also want to brush at least twice a day for two minutes at a time, and you’ll want to visit Woodhill Dental Specialties regularly for a thorough cleaning and checkup

There are a few tips you can use to get the most out of your flossing:

  • Floss first! Floss your teeth first, then rinse, then brush your teeth. Flossing first gets the particles and plaque out so they can be swept away by rinsing and brushing. 
  • Use waxed dental floss. Waxed dental floss tends to slide better between the teeth. It also tends to fray less. 
  • Use a floss threader with braces. Floss threaders make it easier to get dental floss under your archwires and around your brackets. You can find floss threaders and major retailers and pharmacies. 
  • Use a water flosser to get whatever is left after using the regular floss. You can also use the water flosser to get hard-to-reach places like around brackets or crowns. 

Great Oral Care in Dallas, TX

Maintaining great oral hygiene is vital both during and after braces treatment. The last thing you want is to get cavities while in braces, because it can be tricky to fix them and could delay the end of your treatment. If you’re in the Dallas or Rockwall, TX, areas, Woodhill Dental Specialties will provide exceptional treatment with braces or clear aligners, but maintaining great oral hygiene will be up to you. We’re happy to provide any tips or tricks to making your teeth cleaning faster and easier during your treatment. Just ask! 

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