If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: Floss your teeth! It’s just as important as brushing and crucial to preventing gum disease. And yet, only about 30% of Americans floss daily. We understand that it can be a hard habit to fit into your daily oral health routine–the floss gets stuck in your teeth, sometimes your gums bleed, and it feels like it takes forever! We are often asked if there are any alternatives to flossing and the answer is…yes! Let’s look at what other options you have for cleaning those hard to reach places between your teeth.
Water Flossing is a way to clean around and between your teeth with a pressurized steady stream of water. Perhaps you’ve seen or experienced the device in our office. Water Flossers can be particularly helpful for patients with braces, dental bridges, dental implants, or gum pocketing. You can find a Water Flosser with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. While more expensive than traditional floss, it is a helpful tool for reaching areas that are hard to access with floss and a great option if you find flossing difficult or painful. This is also a great alternative if you are concerned about little plastic floss containers ending up in the landfill.
Another easy and practical option is an interdental brush. Studies have shown that when used in combination with regular tooth brushing, an interdental brush can be more effective than floss in removing plaque from between your teeth. These small, cone-shaped brushes are designed to be inserted gently between your teeth and can be rinsed and reused a few times. Patients with braces, food traps, dental bridges, or mobility issues may find this a good alternative. It’s also less of an investment than a Water Flosser.
As the name suggests, these are small wooden or plastic picks that can be used to remove plaque from between teeth and gums. Picks aren’t quite as effective as floss and you risk moving bacteria around your mouth unless you use a new pick for each tooth, but they allow for better maneuverability for patients who have braces and thus some hard to reach areas. Again, it’s always important to look for a product that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Whichever option you choose, the most important thing about cleaning your teeth is to do it! Find a routine that works for you and stick with it…your teeth and your gums will thank you! Also, if you experience bleeding gums from flossing this may be an early sign of periodontal disease–please be sure to inform us of any bleeding at your next visit to our office. If you have any questions about whether flossing or one of these alternatives is right for you, let us know. We are here to support you and provide you with the best oral health care!
Also, please note, our office opened on June 1 with new protocols and procedures in place to keep you and our staff safe. You can also read the full list of these updates on our COVID Protocol Page, easily found in the top menu bar of our website, so you know what to expect before your next appointment. If you are overdue for your appointment, rest assured we will be in touch soon as we catch up with our backlog. We do look forward to seeing you again. Thank you for being our patient!