Flossing: Is There An Alternative?
Flossing is one of those tasks in life that we know we should do, we know the benefits of it, and we know how little time it takes but most of us, just do not do it regularly. Flossing your teeth every night can be a hard habit to develop and maintain, but it’s one that comes with great benefits. Simply having a cleaner feeling mouth, avoiding bad breath , preventing tooth cavities or even avoiding loss of teeth can be accomplished with flossing. Regular tooth brushing cannot reach all the areas of our mouth. Brushing supposedly is only able to clean about 60% of the mouth whereas flossing is able to get to the other 40%. Flossing is able to reach those areas if done properly. Flossing is able to remove plaque, bacteria, and food debris between teeth. It is recommended by the American Dental Association that we floss at least once a day. Proper oral hygiene maintenance is important to stave off periodontal disease and also to keep our entire body healthy. Studies have shown less than half of Americans admit to flossing daily. In reality, that number is probably much lower.
What if there was an easier way to floss daily to maintain our teeth and gums?
Alternatives to Flossing
These alternatives will never be as good old fashioned flossing but they will make an improvement to your oral health versus not using them.
–Waterpik Oral Irrigator. As the name suggests the waterpik is able to do its job by using a stream of pulsating water to remove plaque, bacteria, and food debris between teeth and above and below the gum line, to stimulate blood flow, and to improve overall oral health. Studies have shown when used correctly that the waterpik is actually superior in reducing bleeding of gum tissue and is as effective in reducing plaque buildup. The beauty of the waterpik is its ability to mix antibacterial rinses or a rinse like Periogen into the irrigating chamber. This adds the benefit of being an antibacterial or anti tartar rinse as well, making it doubly effective.
–Oral-B Hummingbird Electric Flosser. The hummingbird flosser is an electric flossing tool that is able to gently vibrate to massage your gums while it is cleaning between your teeth. This is an excellent flossing tool for those lacking dexterity since it can be used with one hand vs two with traditional flossing.
–Tooth Pick, stimudents, soft piks. Yes, a good old fashioned tooth pick can be useful for cleaning in between your teeth. While it doesn’t do the best job, it is definitely easy to use, can remove large food particles, and stimulate blood flow. Just be careful not to poke your gums and injure yourself.
–Sonicare AirFloss. This product makes it easier to keep our teeth clean between dental visits. The Sonicare AirFloss was specially designed to give you an easy and simple, effective way to clean in between your teeth. The Sonicare AirFloss works using patented micro burst technology. This technology delivers micro droplets of air and water to remove plaque, bacteria, and food debris between teeth. Studies have proven the Sonicare Airfloss to be safe and effective as well as gentle on teeth and gum tissue.
The Sonicare Airfloss is very easy to use. It features a single button and a guidance tip that allows the user to target cleaning in between teeth. Patients can complete their flossing in as little as 60 seconds. And with the narrow tip, patients are able to reach the back of their mouth very easily. This allows all the teeth in the mouth to be cleaned. The reservoir holds two teaspoons of water, mouthwash, or other oral rinse. This is enough for two uses and makes the Sonicare AirFloss doubly effective as it has an anti bacterial component as well.
Alternative Flossing Conclusion
As you can see above there are a few alternatives to flossing. Bottom line is nothing beats using a simple piece of floss and flossing like many have been for decades. But if you are unable to or unwilling, the products listed above will help improve your oral hygiene. Use what works best for you and use it as often as you can. Keeping your teeth clean between dentist visits is very important in having your teeth last a lifetime and preventing the development and advancement of periodontal disease. So, maintain a regular schedule of complete dental examinations as well as professional cleanings along with continued at home care and you will see great results in your smile and your health.
Marielaina Perrone DDS