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Which is Better: Waterpik or Flossing?

There’s nothing better than a healthy, great-looking smile, but taking care of your mouth is about more than appearances. Improper oral hygiene causes gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss, among other problems. Furthermore, the bacteria that cause gum disease can get into the bloodstream, affecting heart health and increasing the risk of certain birth defects.

Brushing twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste is a great place to start, but brushing might not be enough to remove bacterial, plaque, and food particles from between the teeth. That’s why flossing and other forms of interdental cleaning are recommended by the ADA (American Dental Association).

You may wonder which is the best way to clean in between your teeth: dental floss or a water flosser, such as a Waterpik. While asking for your dentist’s input is a great idea, it’s also helpful to understand the similarities and differences between the two options. Below, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of these two types of dental cleanings.

Flossing: Is It Really Necessary?

Before we discuss these two types of floss, let’s restate the obvious: if a patient doesn’t feel as if it’s important to floss, no gadget will convince them to do it. However, the spaces between the teeth can hold a lot of built-up plaque, which leads to gum disease if left untended.

Flossing removes the plaque from the mouth before it can build up. A good oral care routine prevents the buildup of harmful bacteria, especially between the teeth.

Waterpik 101

Water flossers, also known as oral irrigators or dental water jets, are sometimes referred to by a common trade name (Waterpik). The first water flosser was invented by a Colorado dentist back in 1962. Using a pressurized, pulsating stream of water, these appliances clean plaque, food particles, and bacteria from under the gumline and in between the teeth.

You may want to use a waterflosser or Waterpik if you:

  • Have a non-removable bridge
  • Wear braces
  • Have dental implants
  • Have crowns

Water flossers are easier to handle than dental floss for those with arthritis or dexterity issues.

Water Flosser Pros

Waterpiks are especially useful for tightly spaced teeth, periodontal pockets, and difficult-to-reach parts of the mouth. They’re easy to use, but there’s a slight learning curve as you figure out the best power setting and water temperature.

For the best results, it’s important to remember to put the tip of the flosser in your mouth before turning it on and to proceed slowly and gently along the gumline. Start at the back of the mouth and work your way forward until all your teeth have been cleaned.

Water Flosser Cons

The rinsing motion of a Waterpik might not be enough to remove all plaque from the surface of the teeth. Some people prefer to use traditional dental floss to loosen plaque before using a water jet to rinse it all away. While it’s safe to use a water flosser every day, these appliances can be costly to replace.

Read Also: Root Canal Treatment In Tucson

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Flossing

An old but effective oral care tool, dental floss has been used for hundreds of years. However, it wasn’t patented until 1874, and the packaging has remained largely the same until today. The floss sold back then was made of unwaxed silk, but the nylon floss made after World War II became quite popular.

Today’s dental floss is sold in rolls and in plastic holders known as dental picks, as unwaxed and waxed strands, and in flavored options. That means it’s easy to find a type of dental floss that meets your needs and suits your preferences.

Flossing is an important part of an overall oral care routine, and everyone should do it to reduce the risks of tooth decay and gum disease. Floss is easy to maneuver, and it works to remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria from between the teeth. 

While floss has numerous benefits, there are a few disadvantages to consider. Some users are unable to reach certain areas of the mouth, and vigorous flossing may make the gums bleed. If your teeth are close together, you might find it difficult to get between them with floss. It’s crucial to rinse your mouth after flossing, as it removes residue and plaque that’s been scraped off the teeth.

Is it Better to Floss Before Brushing or After?

According to the American Dental Association, either way is okay, as long as it’s done properly. Some people prefer to floss beforehand to loosen debris and food from between the teeth, which makes it easier to brush it away afterward.

Others like to brush first to strip away most plaque before they floss, which allows the fluoridated toothpaste to reach areas that may be blocked by debris. However, the American Academy of Periodontology and the ADA suggest brushing and flossing (in either order) to keep your mouth healthy. It’s up to you!

Is A Water Flosser Better Than Regular Floss?

The ADA says that approved water flossers can remove plaque, which becomes tartar and leads to gingivitis and cavities. However, some research shows that Waterpiks don’t remove plaque as effectively as ordinary floss.

It’s best not to discard your dental floss in favor of a water flosser, as most dentists still consider floss the most effective way to clean between the teeth. While flossing may be a bit uncomfortable if you’re not used to it, it does get easier.

Closing Thoughts

The best oral care routine is one you will enjoy, stick to, and use every day. Many people like the control that comes with manual flossing, while others prefer the deep clean and fresh feel of using a water flosser.

Research shows there’s little difference between the level of plaque removal with these methods, so it all comes down to your budget and your preferences. No matter which method you use, though, be sure to do it daily for a healthier smile.

If you have questions or concerns, we’d be happy to address them for you. Call Wilmot Family Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.

George E.
George E.
Everything about the dentistry was excellent! I was most impressed with the hygienist, Melissa. She is the finest dental hygienist I have ever had.
Iliganoa Selena I.
Iliganoa Selena I.
Dr. Lyman and his team are the best! The pano machine was down last week but they made sure to call me right away when it was fixed and scheduled me in the next week. Front desk is approachable, friendly and super nice. The wait times aren’t really long and that’s perfect! Thought I was only getting my X-rays today but they pulled through with pulling my wisdom teeth and reassured me everything was going to be ok. Recommend this dental for a family like feel. Definitely coming back again!
Monica T.
Monica T.
Everyone is so nice and friendly, highly recommended
Chris H.
Chris H.
I had a broken tooth. Hadn't been to see them for about 2 years. But as soon as I contacted their office. They got me in quickly and took great care of me. I appreciate their customer service and they're caring attitude. It's hard to find these days. I highly recommend them.
Lisa ann S.
Lisa ann S.
1st time. Broken tooth, needed extraction. I despise going to the dentist. Dr Lyman was very thorough, made sure I was pain free prior to tooth removal. Didn't feel a thing. Best experience in over 20yrs. I will be returning and recommending to others. Thanks Doc!!
Janet B.
Janet B.
Friendly staff and dentist. Kelsey was absolutely amazing! I
Christy
Christy
Very nice staff
Anna R.
Anna R.
It was refreshing to walk into a Dentist office where the front desk was nice and smiled! The hygienists were wonderful. I could hear my 15 year old daughter laughing in the other room with Inez. Staff and Dentist are super personable. We will see you all in August. Thank you!!!!
Mystri B.
Mystri B.
Wonderful staff! Thank you for all that you guys do!!
Beatriz R.
Beatriz R.
Great customer service.
M P
M P
Kelsie did a great job on my cleaning today. Both her and Dr. Lyman addressed my concerns and answered my questions thoroughly. I've continued to be pleased with this practice.Precious Review 2 years ago: Today, I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle, the new hygienist. What a great addition to this practice. Michelle was gentle and had a lovely chair side manner. She did great, Thank- you Michelle!My previous reviewI was very pleased with my recent experience at Wilmot Family Dentistry. Both Becca and Dr. Lyman were caring and addressed my concerns well. Treatment was pain free. Becca, Alanna and Dr. Lyman were gentle and kind. I recommend this practice.
STAY_ D.
STAY_ D.
They really took care of my son in short notice and got his tooth removed best family dentistry to go to. I recommend this dentistry for any family and military family they super well and great with kids.
Omar B.
Omar B.
Kelsey was amazing and friendly recommend this place
Robin R.
Robin R.
Wonderfully run office with helpful, pleasant efficient staff! I found familiar faces in the waiting room from where I live in a wonderful 55+ area. I will happily refer others.
Jennifer W.
Jennifer W.
This was my first visit. Everyone was very kind, knowledgeable, and informative. The cost was really reasonable. I would highly recommend.
Arthur K.
Arthur K.
Doctor Lyman and his staff are incredible. Update: January 2024. Had my 6-month check up and as usual I had a professional lady who was truly a hygienic specialist par excellence. She did a thorough job of cleaning my teeth, and she was as nice as she could be. I can't imagine ever giving less than a five-star review for Wilmot Family Dentistry.
Christine A.
Christine A.
Super friendly staff, neutral smelling office, which I greatly appreciate, and they are collectively a great bunch of people. The dentist was kind in manor and clear about what was going on with my teeth, giving me options and not pressuring me to do anything. A great dental experience for myself and my daughter.
Gloria F.
Gloria F.
Very grateful for Wilmot Family Dentistry. The dentist and staff are very professional and friendly, which makes for a comfortable atmosphere and pleasant visit.. Thank you!
Dena E.
Dena E.
After searching dentists. I’ve been coming to this office for almost 3 years. They gave me hope. Most dentists are out there to just make money over stuff that doesn’t need to be done. I’m greatful for true honesty.
kathryn K.
kathryn K.
Dr. Lyman and his office were gracious and kind. He communicated to me what was going on and suggested how I should move forward. Very knowledgable Dr with a great personalitiy. KK
Abigail
Abigail
Kelsey was amaze and so gentle with my sensitive teeth! Dr was efficient and quick
Raymond I.
Raymond I.
Every time I called a human answered, they were so helpful and knew the answers to my questions, were patient and professional. The appointment went smooth, my daughter was seen on time for her appointment, even though there was a room full of patients, everyone got called back fairly quickly! The staff is so nice and the doctor was awesome with my daughter, to make her feel as comfortable as possible!
Sharon B.
Sharon B.
I'm new to Arizona. I got lucky when I found this office. Dr. Lyman did a fantastic job. I have been there now 2 times. He is very knowledgeable and informs you every step of the way through the procedure. The staff are all so polite and professional as well. They treat you like family This will be my dentist from now on. I recommend this dentist and office to anyone in need of dental services, without a doubt
PETE O.
PETE O.
AWESOME WORK—-SUPER GOOD STAFF—-U OF A FRIENDLY—!!!!!
Robbin H.
Robbin H.
I went in the office staff very nice and kind. I had to have tooth pull felt no pains the doctor was great. I would going forward make this my place to come for my dental work.
Jeannette E.
Jeannette E.
I decided to change dentists as my health insurance provided the benefit. I was reluctant to change, but was pleasantly surprised at the professional office at Wimot Family Dentistry. Front desk was helpful & friendly. The Hygenist was thorough & did a great job. I briefly met the dentist who seemed very nice. All in all, I’m very happy with the professional service I received. I’m sticking with them!
Lea S.
Lea S.
I was visiting from out of state and needed to have an emergency appointment. I was seen the same day of my phone call and taken care of as well. Everyone was very kind and attentive. Thank you so much for your help :)
Oleg B.
Oleg B.
Dr.Lyman and his staff very professional and honest!I highly recommend…Awesome people!Thank you
Erin W.
Erin W.
Love the care they take of our whole family here. Even the little ones look forward to going to the dentist!
lea ann L.
lea ann L.
I’m new to Arizona, and I made an appointment, and they fixed me right up. Really nice doctor and staff.Thank you so much.
Dwarlord
Dwarlord
Great. Really nice people.
Carrie T.
Carrie T.
This place is awesome. I have many dental issues and was very impressed by the one on one treatment and straight forward answers. They are ALL kind and courteous, and even made me feel better about my road ahead. I will recommend this place to everyone. Thanks for the great experience Wilmot family dentistry.
J S.
J S.
I loved the place and the doctor and the people thank you sir Joseph Lyman 🙏
Shirley M.
Shirley M.
Excellent. Efficient, knowledgeable, friendly, hygienist. Dr. Lyman is a good dentist. Office personnel are always helpful and pleasant. Clean and sanitized facilities. And a good price!
Lhasa C.
Lhasa C.
So happy to have found this office. The hygienist, Melissa, is so gentle and encouraging and the dentist seems genuinely involved in your well being.
Diane M.
Diane M.
Best dental experience Ever!!Everyone was wonderful!
Paulie L.
Paulie L.
Great experience for my son and I.
James A.
James A.
Highly responsive and friendly staff.
Sharon W.
Sharon W.
I was lucky to get Dr Lyman for my Dentist as a new patient a few years ago. If I have a problem I can always get right in.The staffalways put me at ease.I had a really sore implant and was miserable. I called got in today ,he found the problem and tonight I am pain free. Thank you Dr.Lyman .I would recommend him to all who needs a Dentist.5 star for sure.
Paul M
Paul M
I've been going to this office for quite awhile and everyone has always been honest, friendly and professional.
JoAnn C.
JoAnn C.
They were great !!! Everyone is so polite and happy.
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