Your family’s oral health depends on daily habits like brushing and flossing.
But many of our patients here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah tell us they hate to floss. Some patients have trouble holding and maneuvering the strands of floss between their teeth. Others complain of bleeding gums, the taste the floss leaves in their mouth or their fingers going numb when flossing.
Instead of skipping flossing — which many patients do — we recommend an easy-to-use water flosser, also known as an oral irrigator. This helpful dental tool lets you toss the floss while improving your oral health.
What Is a Water Flosser?
Your hygienist likely uses an oral irrigator when they clean your teeth — it’s the water jet tool that flushes out plaque and debris from between the teeth. These dental hygiene devices are designed to clean hard-to-reach areas of the mouth with pulsating water at high pressure.
Water flossers designed for home use are affordable and make for an easy alternative to traditional flossing. Anyone who can use a toothbrush can use one of these devices. Simply fill the reservoir with water, turn the unit on and allow the pressurized water to clean between the teeth and under the gumline.
You can even purchase water flossers that you can use in the shower.
Water flossers typically come with several flossing tips or attachments, so you can choose the one that works best and is the most comfortable for you to use. Most also have a pressure control switch. This lets you start out with low-pressure water flossing, then gradually work your way up to a higher pressure.
If your gums are inflamed or sore, the oral irrigator on a high setting may be uncomfortable.
Will an Oral Irrigator Improve Your Oral Health?
Flossing with an oral irrigator has been proven effective at cleaning between the teeth.
Several studies have found that water flossers, when used in combination with either a manual or sonic toothbrush, are better at removing plaque biofilm from between the teeth than traditional flossing.
In addition, research shows that oral irrigator flossing also helps reduce gum bleeding and gingivitis. According to one study, water flossers are up to 52 percent better than dental floss at reducing gingivitis, and up to 93 percent better at reducing the incidence of bleeding gums.
Is Flossing Really Necessary?
If you don’t make flossing a part of your daily oral health care routine, you’ll be at a greater risk for gum disease, cavities and tooth loss. So, yes, you really do need to floss.
And just for the record, it isn’t just oral surgeons and dentists urging patients to floss. Many of the leading oral health care organizations also advise regular flossing — the American Dental Association, National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research are among the many subject matter experts that say flossing is necessary for your overall health, as well as your oral health.
The team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah is committed to helping you and your family enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule a consultation with one of our oral health specialists.