Toothpaste commercials recommend that you brush your teeth three times a day, but that’s just the beginning of it. You see, there are more things you have to do in finding out how to reverse periodontitis (gum disease) and keep your teeth from decaying, and we are talking about none other than flossing. So, the question is: what kind of floss should you go for?
Why Floss At All?
Floss greatly helps in reducing the risk of gingivitis, which could lead to more serious problems like periodontitis or even tooth loss, by removing plaque from those corners in between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t simply reach. You see, plaque is what forms from the residual food, acids, and sugar that passes through your mouth, serving as a really nasty breeding ground for bacteria that causes bad breath, a bad taste in your mouth, and teeth and gum infections. As such, flossing at least once a day provides you more protection than with brushing your teeth alone. But, the question still remains: what kind of floss should you use?
The Two Main Types Of Floss
Aside from other alternatives, such as toothpicks, electric toothbrushes, interdental brushes, etc., the two most common forms of flossing are either via the use of a regular dental floss or an oral irrigator, also known as water floss or Waterpiks. Now, allow us to break down what you’re getting (or not getting) from either of these methods. Keep reading!
The Dental Floss
This is the traditional way of flossing, which has been around for almost two centuries now. Tracing its roots back to 1818, dental floss has gone through various changes when it comes to the material used, but the way we use it essentially the same. It makes use of a thin piece of string, usually made from durable latex covered in dental wax. As such, here are some of the kinds of dental floss you can find in the market:
- Waxed dental floss, which are made of latex with either a coating for flavor or extra effectiveness
- Unwaxed floss, a basic length of dental filament
- Dental tapes, which are flatter than other forms of floss
- Woven floss, which are more durable because of how the length of string or filament is intertwined
- Expanding floss, the ones that can stretch for easier use
- Floss picks, which are a combination of toothpicks and dental floss in one.
So, why are there a variety of flosses available? Well, the answer to that is because of how people have different gum and teeth shapes that a certain type of floss may be able to properly work on where other kinds can’t.
The Water Floss/Waterpik
On the other hand, we have a water floss or Waterpik. Now, unlike regular dental floss, these devices are fairly new. Only having been widely available in the past two decades or so, these oral irrigators have become a very popular alternative to good ol’ dental floss.
The way it works is by blasting the plaque away from your teeth and gums using a stream of water, and just like dental floss, it can reach those tough spots that a toothbrush simply can’t. Depending on the model you have, a Waterpik/oral irrigator may either come with a separate reservoir for your water or a built-in tank attached to the water floss itself.
Which One Should You Use?
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing between a dental floss and a Watepik/Water floss. However, one of the main factors that could affect your decision is, of course, the price. After all, none of these would matter if you can’t get your hands on either. However, keep in mind that price is just one aspect you have to look at: there’s also the convenience factor, how effective each is, and whether they can last long.
At first glance, you might think that the obvious winner here is the dental floss, what with its price just being a humble $1-$2 depending on the brand or kind you’re going for. Water flosses/oral irrigators, on the other hand, are within the range of $70.
However, keep in mind that dental floss is disposable, which means you’ll have to keep purchasing them every time they run out. On the other hand, a water floss/oral irrigator is not. So, the point is that you could end up spending more on having to continually buy dental floss as opposed to just opting for a quality water floss/oral irrigator. As such, just remember that if you’re going for the latter, make sure you go for a model that’s sturdy and would last long; one with low quality can die out on you after a short period, which means you would have been better off with a regular dental floss.
We’re not going to lie to you: using a dental floss could be a real pain. It takes a certain level of skill and getting used to in order to properly remove all those pesky plaque from between your teeth with ease, not to mention the minor injuries your fingers or gums could incur because of how durable the filaments or strings floss are made of. Nonetheless, it can properly remove all those unwanted particles once you get the hang of it.
On the other hand, water floss/oral irrigators are extremely easy to use: you just point it at the spaces between your teeth and press a button; the device does the rest.
So, Which Is Better?
Well, both dental and water floss are effective if properly used, so we’d have to say that it all boils down on you. If you’re willing to practice or are currently thinking of purchasing a low-quality water floss/oral irrigator, then just go for a dental floss. If, on the other hand, you think that it’s too much work learning how to properly floss, then go with a water floss/oral irrigator. Keep those pearly whites healthy!