Waterpik Vs. Flossing: Which is better?

Technology has made significant improvements in dentistry; none more significant than the homecare routine. Brushing and flossing can be a real hassle — especially flossing. Most patients hate it. The Waterpik water flosser is an exciting and effective way to make flossing better. But can it replace good old dental floss? Let’s explore.

What is Waterpik Water Flosser

Waterpik is a device which uses a pulsating of water to expel bacteria from the gum pockets. Clinical studies show that using a Waterpik Water Flosser results in a penetration of 50% of the depth of the pocket, about two times as far as can be reached with dental floss.

Additionally, a study from the University of Southern California Center for Biofilms found that a three second application of water flossing removed 99.9% of plaque biofilm from the treated area.

Effective Hygiene Tool

Waterpik or the Waterpik water flosser are great for just about everyone, but specifically, they are important tools for people with diabetes, who tend to be at higher risk for gum disease. In studies of diabetic patients, those who used the Water Flosser for three months, had a 44% better reduction in bleeding and 41% reduction in gingivitis compared to those who did not use the Water Flosser.

These tools are also extremely effective for patients with dental implants. The Water Flosser exhibits superior reductions in plaque, bleeding, and gingivitis which is critical to the long term survival of dental implants.

Water flossing is also an excellent tool for the challenge of cleaning orthodontic appliances. Waterpik or the Waterpik water flosser help patients with braces clean their teeth far more effectively than with a toothbrush alone.

Not a Replacement

While the Waterpik Water Flosser is extremely effective, it is still not a replacement for traditional floss!

“The Waterpik devices are definitely better than nothing,” says Philadelphia dentist Dr. Pamela Doray. “It’s so important to floss because that process removes bacteria colonies from teeth and gums. The Waterpik or Water Flossers simply rinse these areas. Ideally, patients should use both.”

However, a Water Flosser is a great tool for patients because it requires less manual dexterity. The greatest benefit is for patients who exhibit inadequate interproximal (between teeth) cleaning even when they try to floss.

Pros & Cons: Floss vs. Waterpik

Dental floss is hands-down the most inexpensive way to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Floss is portable and can be used anywhere, anytime to clean tight spaces between the teeth. On the other hand, floss can be irritating if not used correctly, and it is difficult to use with braces or denture attachments. Waterpik devices are extremely gentle and reduce bleeding for patients with sensitive gums. The Water Flosser is often recommended for patients with active gum disease or a history of gum disease because it flushes bacteria from deep pockets where floss can’t reach. The Waterpik only rinses, though, while floss actually scrapes off sticky film.

How to Use

The most effective way to clean your teeth on a daily basis is to combine tooth brushing, flossing and a water flossing device. Dr. Doray recommends that you floss first to scrape off sticky plaque and loosen debris, then Waterpik to flush it away. Follow up with a toothbrush using fluoride toothpaste.

Which is Best For You

Visit Dr. Doray for a consultation to find out the best way to care for your teeth and gums at home. Call (215) 395-6076 or request an appointment online.