Most people know to practice healthy oral health habits, such as brushing twice a day and flossing daily. However, many people have questions about whether water flossing is a better alternative to traditional flossing. It’s important to understand each technique to help determine which is the better fit for you.
Dental floss and floss picks
Standard flossing is a simple process that uses a thin, soft piece of string to pass between teeth, gently scraping up and down to remove plaque and food particles from teeth and out from under gums. Another option is a floss pick – a plastic tool with a u-shaped end that holds a small piece of floss. There are several advantages to standard floss and floss picks:
Easily accessible from a pharmacy or grocery store
Quick and easy to use on the go
Despite the pros to flossing, there are a few cons:
Difficult to reach some areas of the mouth
Can cause minor bleeding, especially if teeth are not flossed regularly
Can worsen or cause gum sensitivity
Water flossing, also known as water picking, utilizes a special device that pulsates a thin stream of water into the mouth and around the gums. Rather than scraping the teeth to remove plaque and food debris, water flossing uses pressure to massage the gums and push leftover food from teeth. Water flossing also has several advantages:
Safe for people of almost all ages
Easy to use and able to target hard-to-reach areas, especially between tightly spaced teeth
Cleans in between teeth for people with braces or arthritis
However, there are a few disadvantages:
Requires more space for storage
Requires access to electricity and water, making it difficult to use sometimes outside of the home
Debate is ongoing as to which of these techniques works best, and there is no right answer for everyone. Many people prefer the control they get from standard flossing. However, both tools clean between the teeth and under the gums, helping reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Talk with your dentist about which flossing tools and techniques are best for you.
* All TruAssure dental plans, other than Basic and Preferred dental plans, are offered in association with the DenteMax Plus dental network arrangement, which includes participating dentists from the DenteMax, United Concordia and Connection dental networks. TruAssure Basic and Preferred dental plans for both group and individual members are offered in association with the DenteMax dental network.
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