Flossing your teeth; dental professionals love it – most people hate it. Flossing only works for those who use it regularly and do it effectively. Only 13.5% of Americans claim they floss daily.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing at least once a day to achieve optimal oral health. By flossing daily, you help remove plaque from the areas between your teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach. Plaque is a sticky substance made of bacteria. If it builds up, the bacteria can irritate the gums, cause inflammation, gum disease and cavities.
While using dental floss helps maintain dental health between routine preventive care, it can be hard for some people to do it effectively. When using dental floss ideally you should flex the string beneath the gum line and move the string up and down with enough pressure for plaque removal while trying to avoid cutting into gum tissue with too much tension.
A more effective means to floss your teeth is water flossing. Science supports what dental professionals have observed in their patients during check ups, as clinical studies show that the a water flosser is up to 51% more effective than dental floss for reducing gingivitis, two times as effective as dental floss at reducing gingival bleeding and 29% more effective as dental floss at removing plaque.
Water flossers deliver a clinically proven combination of pulsation and pressure necessary to remove plaque and are especially beneficial for people with dental braces or orthodontic appliances. Cleaning around dental braces and orthodontic appliances with regular dental floss requires a time consuming floss threader and dental floss can easily shred or get stuck in hardware. A flossing study of children and young adults with braces found that using a water flosser was not only more effective at removing food particles and bacteria from orthodontic appliances than string flossing, but the participants enjoyed using the water flosser more than the manual method.
In addition, a study conducted by the University of Nebraska in 2005 found that water flossers are more than 50% more effective at controlling gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums that’s often the precursor of more serious gum disease. Plus, water flossers also reduce the risk of bleeding gums during cleaning by up to 93 percent.
Water flossers are faster, easier, and more effective to use than regular dental floss.
Some recommended brands are those by Waterpik, Conair and Philips, and range in price from $30 to $90. With only a fraction of the American population flossing regularly, anything that increases a person’s likelihood of flossing regularly to decrease gum disease and reduce cavities is worth the investment.
And most important of all- be sure to visit Dr. Finlay or Dr. Lim twice a year in their Annapolis dentist office!