How often in your life have you heard a dentist plead with you to floss your teeth more often? It seems like we all have trouble remembering to do this important part of our daily dental health regimen; and that’s not even mentioning people with braces, bridges, bonding, or other issues that make flossing more difficult. To that end, let’s talk about your flossing alternatives and how good they really are.
Floss Sticks (or Flossers)
These Y-shaped pieces of plastic have a piece of floss strung across them that you can easily push between your teeth and pull out stubborn plaque and pieces of food. They make a great alternative to toothpicks, but do they work as a replacement for flossing?
According to Dr. Thomas P. Connelly, DDS, writing for The Huffington Post, “It’s better than nothing.” Because the floss is strung tightly, it really can’t wrap around the tooth or reach under the gums. Also, you can’t reach the back of the tooth as well as you can with regular floss. However, if it’s between using a floss stick and not flossing at all, your dentist will choose the floss stick.
Air Flossers are powered devices that use compressed air to push a spray of water or mouthwash between the teeth. Studies seem to show that they are on par with flossing for effectiveness. If you are averse to flossing, but you are okay with spending a little cash and using some new technology, this could be your answer.
Water piks are also powered devices. Instead of compressed air, though, a concentrated stream of water and/or mouthwash is sprayed between your teeth. The process is also called water irrigation, and it’s incredibly effective. Water piks have been around longer than air flossers, and they’ve been proven to be at least as effective as flossing. You can even use them on braces and teeth that are otherwise difficult or impossible to floss.