Yes. You Can Toss the Floss!
Hate flossing? Then our periodontist in The Woodlands has good news. It turns out there’s a way to clean between teeth and even deeper under your gumlines without using any floss. It’s called a “water flosser.”
What are Water Flossers?
Water flossers are an oral hygiene aid that shoots a steady stream of water out of a thin handheld wand. They’ve been on the market for several years, but until recently they’ve not had as much research to suggest their efficacy.
Although water flossers aren’t technically meant to replace flossing (just compliment it) we usually see just as good of plaque control — if not better — in our periodontal patients who use them.
How to Use Water Flossers
Using a water flosser takes a lot of practice. Most of our patients in The Woodlands say that it’s messy at first. Fortunately, the more you use it, the easier it becomes.
To prevent too much of a mess, put the water flosser inside of your mouth before turning it on. Lean over the sink with your lips slightly apart, so that the water can flow out instead of building up inside your mouth.
Starting at the back of your mouth, gently trace along the gumlines on the outside of your top or bottom teeth. Keep the water tip aimed about 45-degrees into the gums. Pause for a few seconds where your teeth meet one another, then continue to the next tooth. After you’ve traced the outside, move to the inside, and then the opposite arch.
Great for Cleaning Deep Gum Pockets
When used correctly, traditional string floss can only clean 2-3mm under your gums. This is fine if you have a healthy mouth, but if you’re prone to periodontal disease you need something that can clean pockets that are 5, 6, or 7mm deep.
Studies show that water flossers have the ability to reach as deep as 7mm in gum pockets, making it possible to flush out soft plaque biofilm that’s accumulated inside of them. If this isn’t reason enough to stop flossing the old way, we don’t know what is!
Types of Water Flossers
Depending on your preferences and budget, there are different types of brands and designs of water flossers on the market. Some can hook up to your shower head or sink faucet. Others have a small reservoir that’s contained inside of the handle. Typical units have a self-contained reservoir with tubing that runs to the handheld wand.
When selecting the best water flosser for your needs, our Conroe periodontist recommends getting one that allows you to adjust the pressure. A small knob or other control gives you the ability to increase/decrease water flow as needed, instead of a single setting.
Make the Change Today
As a gum specialist, Dr. Saunders is a fan of anything that makes it easier for our patients to reduce their risk of periodontal disease. For some people, that’s a water flosser.
If you’re having a hard time making it a habit to floss each day, then a water flosser could be the next best step!