​A few weeks ago I had a phone call from a patient who wanted to know if he could replace his traditional floss with a more modern option, the water pick.

I don’t know many people (other than dental professionals) that can honestly say that they enjoy flossing their teeth. Most people either do it a few times a year out of guilt because they have a cleaning coming up, or they floss regularly because they know it’s an important part of their home care to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

The idea that there may be another option that is less time consuming and tedious than flossing would naturally be appealing to a lot of people. So, I consulted with Dr.Haddock and did some research of my own to find about what all the buzz was about.

Here is what I have learned:

The waterpik is a great tool to use in addition to flossing. Dr. Langberg DDS of Southfield, Michigan states that, “they (waterpiks) do not remove plaque like floss does because effective flossing literally ‘wipes’ the sticky plaque off teeth and waterpiks can only ‘rinse’ these areas.”

In a “Ask the Dentist” blog by Family Dental Care Park Ridge they say, “If you use floss correctly, you are snapping it past the tight connection between your teeth and then (and this is key) you are moving the floss up and down pressing it against one of the two teeth first and then pressing it against the other of the two teeth next before snapping it out from between the two teeth.  That all important moving up and down along the side of the tooth and under the gum-line is what makes floss so important.  That one simple maneuver removes plaque and bacteria from the side surfaces of the teeth that the toothbrush can not get at adequately.”

I hope you didn’t throw out your floss yet because it looks like the waterpik won’t be taking the place of the floss in your bathroom cabinets. Although, it can be a little tedious, taking the time to floss in addition to brushing your teeth will greatly improve the health of your gums as well as make you your dentist star patient.  If you have questions about whether a waterpik is a good choice for you to add to your home care regimen, contact your dentist and he/she can help you come up with a plan specif to your needs.

I encourage you to click on the links below to read the full articles referenced above and explore the benefits of using both floss and the waterpik.

Are Waterpiks a substitute for flossing? – Mark Langberg, DDS

Happy flossing!

Rachel G. 512-452-3077

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