How often are you flossing your teeth? For many of our patients here in North Arlington, the answer is probably not nearly enough.
The truth of the matter is that flossing is a fundamental component of proper oral care. Patients must include all aspects of dental care — brushing, floss and visiting the dentist regularly — to truly enjoy a healthy smile.
The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day to remove bacteria and food particles. Flossing each day significantly reduces your chance of developing tooth decay, gum disease and tooth stains. After committing to a flossing regimen, the next important step is to decide what type of interdental cleaner to use.
The two main options include traditional string floss or a water floss. Dr. Richard Ekstein highlights the benefits and drawbacks of each of these options.
The Perks And Drawbacks Of Traditional String Floss
String floss is one of the oldest dental tools known to mankind. Researchers found evidence of dental floss and toothpicks that date all the way back to prehistoric times. Evidence suggests that prehistoric humans used horse hair as floss.
Fortunately, we have string floss that is much more sanitary and effective nowadays.Traditional string floss comes in a variety of options ranging from waxed, unwaxed and flavored.
Some of the perks of choosing traditional string floss for interdental cleaning include:
Affordable & Accessible: Buying a pack of floss won’t cost you more than a few bucks. It’s easily accessible and you can typically find it at grocery or convenience stores.
More Effective: Using traditional string floss is also a great option because the c-shaped motion used is more effective at scraping plaque beneath the gumline.
Some of the drawbacks of using string floss include:
More Time Consuming: Many patients dislike flossing because it can take more time. This is especially difficult for patients with braces or dexterity issues.
Harsh On Sensitive Gums: Using string floss can also feel harsh for patients with very sensitive gums. For these patients, extreme care must be used to not put too much pressure while using string floss.
Is A Water Flosser The Best Option?
Water flossers have quickly gained popularity for patients who hate flossing. A water flosser is a dental tool that shoots a stream of water in between the teeth and at the gum line. Some of the benefits of choosing a water flosser include:
Gentle At Removing Plaque: A water flosser is more gentle at removing plaque than traditional string floss, which is an ideal option for patients with extra tooth sensitivity.
Less Time Consuming: Patients find using a water flosser can be a quick process as opposed to taking the time to use string floss.
Easy to Use: Patients with braces or dexterity issues find that using a water flosser is much easier to use to effectively remove plaque and food particles.
Of course, there are still a few drawbacks to water flossers, which include the following:
More Expensive: Water flossers are much more expensive than traditional string floss and are not as widely available.
Choosing Your Best Interdental Cleaner
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend using string floss because the scraping motion you make with the string is more effective at removing plaque. However, using a water flosser is better than not cleaning between the teeth at all.
A water flosser may be the best option for a variety of patients including:
- Patients with braces
- Patients with dexterity issues
- Patients with crowns, bridges or dental implants
- Patients who simply hate flossing and won’t do it otherwise
Contact Smile Design Specialist
Do you have questions about your dental health? We’re here to help! Here at Smile Design Specialist, we offer a range of dental services to give you the healthiest smile possible. Services range from general family dentistry to restorative treatment with dental implants. To find out how we can help your dental health, contact our office today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Ekstein.