All Flash and No Floss?

February 28, 2014

According to the American Dental Association (and every dentist you’ve ever met), flossing is the best, most effective way to remove food particles and harmful plaque from between your teeth. Yet, despite the importance of this practice, only 50.5% of Americans floss every day. Some people feel they’re simply too busy to floss or don’t credit flossing with much consequence. However, some people don’t floss because physical or psychological concerns prevent them from handling traditional floss properly. Handheld water flossers provide an easy-to-use alternative for people who have trouble flossing, but which variety should you choose and is the investment worth it in the first place?

A Closer Look at Water Flossers

The first water flossers hit the market in the 1960s and have been steadily gaining popularity since. Today, a number of well-known dental product brands market water flossers as a better way for you to clean between your teeth, especially if you have extensive dental work like implants or bridgework, dexterity issues due to age or arthritis, or if you just plain dislike traditional thread floss. Modern water flossers fall into two main categories:

  1. Sonic/Electric Flossers. This model consists of a handheld flossing wand that shoots a jet of water from an attached reservoir. Although they’re usually powered by electricity, some portable versions are battery operated. Brands like Waterpik and Sonicare cite clinical evidence that their products are more effective than traditional floss at removing plaque and improving gum health.
  2. Faucet-Powered Flossers. This type of flosser connects directly to the faucet and propels a jet of tap water between the teeth, exactly like the electric/sonic versions. Faucet-powered versions do not require the use of electricity, batteries, or a reservoir.

Bottom Line: Should You Buy One?

Both electric and faucet-powered water flossers have a higher upfront cost than traditional thread floss. Electric flossers can run upwards of $80-90 while faucet versions generally run between $20 and $30. However, if difficulties manipulating traditional floss prevent you from properly caring for your teeth, the investment in a handheld water flosser is well worth it.

Dentist’s Pro-Tip: Purchase a less expensive faucet-powered version to determine whether water flossing is for you. You can invest in a more expensive electric version down the line.

About Brad Greenfield, DDS

Dr. Brad Greenfield practices family, restorative, cosmetic, and sedation dentistry with a holistic approach to patient care and comfort. To schedule an appointment with your Lake Orion, MI dentist, call (248) 693-6213. We proudly serve patients of all ages in Clarkston, Auburn Hills, Oxford, Rochester Hills, and neighboring communities.

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