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 Dental Floss vs Water Flosser


Brushing our teeth twice daily is like second nature to most of us. However, there’s something many of us are guilty of neglecting – flossing. Yes, brushing your teeth is important, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s not enough to keep your oral health in check. 

For starters, there are certain tricky areas in your mouth, like in-between your teeth, where your toothbrush can’t quite reach. What happens when you skip flossing is that plaque and tartar can form on your teeth. The consequences? A whole host of dental problems like gum disease, bad breath, tooth decay, tooth discolouration and eventually, tooth loss. And that’s the grim reality of not maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine.

When it comes to flossing your teeth, you have two options to consider: traditional dental floss or a water flosser. Not sure which one is better for you? Keep reading as we thoroughly explore both options available. 

What is Dental Floss? 

Dental floss, or string floss, is an effective tool to remove food and bacteria between your teeth. It’s a thin thread typically made from plastic or nylon that you place between each tooth, gently sliding it up and down and beneath the gum line to remove leftover food particles and plaque. 

If you find it tricky to use traditional dental floss, flossettes, also known as dental floss picks, are an excellent alternative. They have a handle on one end that holds a piece of dental floss, which makes it easier to use. 

Benefits of Traditional Dental Floss

  • Traditional string floss is an accessible option as they are affordable and readily available. 
  • It is a convenient choice due to its compact size, especially when travelling. 
  • Doesn’t need electricity or charging like water flossers. 
  • You have manual control over the pressure. 

How to Floss Your Teeth With Dental Floss

  1. Wind about 30-45 cm of floss around your middle finger and pull it firmly between your thumbs and middle fingers. 
  2. Slide the floss gently between your teeth in up-and-down and side-to-side motions. 
  3. Clean along the gum line gently by sliding the floss slightly below the gum line.    
  4. Move to the next space and use a clean section of floss. 

While string floss has been proven to be effective in maintaining good oral health, it has some limitations. For instance, you need to master the correct flossing technique to remove plaque effectively. Even then, reaching certain areas at the back of your mouth may be difficult. In addition, it may be challenging to floss around dental restorations. 

What is a Water Flosser? 

Water flossers are electrically charged devices that work wonders for oral health by using water pressure to remove food particles and plaque between teeth. While they come in different shapes and sizes, they typically consist of a reservoir for holding water, a motor pump that generates water pressure and a nozzle that directs this pressurised water. 

How to Use a Water Flosser? 

  1. Fill the tank of your water flosser with warm water. 
  2. Place the tip of your water flosser in your mouth and lean over the sink to avoid any spillage.
  3. Switch it on and hold it at a 90-degree angle in your mouth. The water will come out in constant pulses, removing food particles and plaque. You can start at the back and work your way forward, paying special attention to your gum line and the back of your teeth. 
  4. Once you’ve cleaned your mouth, empty any excess water from the reservoir to prevent bacteria growth. 

Benefits of a Water Flosser 

  • They are gentle on your gums, making them an excellent choice for people with sensitive or inflamed gums. 
  • Effectively removes leftover food particles and plaque from between teeth and along your gum line. 
  • Great for cleaning around braces, dental implants, crowns and bridges, as they can reach areas that traditional dental floss may not be able to. 
  • Convenient and easy to use. 
  • The pressure of the water stream can be adjusted according to your needs and comfort. 

However, just like with string floss, water flossers aren’t without their limitations. The initial investment is higher with water flossers and you may even need to get new nozzle tips down the line. And let’s not forget the learning curve – it might take a bit of time to get the hang of the correct technique and avoid making a mess of the bathroom.  

Types of dental floss

Dental Floss vs. Water Flosser: Which is Better? 

We all know flossing is an important part of any oral hygiene routine, but the question arises: which is better? 

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, it depends on what works best for you. So, should you replace string flossing with water flossing? Water flossers may seem like a convenient and effective way to clean your teeth and gums. But here’s the thing: it may not be as effective as string flossing when removing smaller particles of debris and plaque from between your teeth. That said, there are certain instances where water flossers take on the upper hand, and this is especially true if you have: 

  • Poor flossing technique, which may cause discomfort and bleeding. 
  • Gum disease or gum infection, as water flossing can be more gentle than string flossing. 
  • Dental restorations such as implants, braces and crowns. A water flosser makes cleaning around these dental appliances and restorations less challenging. 
  • Dexterity issues or physical ailments such as arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome make it challenging to manoeuvre string floss. 

As we mentioned, it all boils down to what works best for you. If you are on the fence, speak to one of our friendly dentists at Purity Dental who can help you figure out the best option. 

Keep in mind that flossing is just one part of your oral hygiene routine. So don’t forget to brush regularly and visit us for regular dental checkups every 6 months to keep your smile healthy and happy.