Is Water Flossing Better Than String Flossing?

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Water flossers or water picks, technically an oral irrigator, if you’re asking, are increasingly popular, but are they effective? Only 32% of adults floss daily, so there is absolutely a need for an easier way to clean between teeth. Going without daily flossing, or some form of interdental cleaning leaves all of those people, most of us, at serious risk of gum disease. So let’s find out if water picks live up to the hype.

Are Water Flossers Better Than String Floss?

Water flossers seem to be very effective according to current research. A 2013 study on the effectiveness of water flossers  compared to string floss found that water flossers were “significantly” more effective than string floss. Specifically, they found that after a single-use water flossers were 29% more effective at removing plaque. They were particularly better at removing plaque and accumulations from between teeth, and that’s most of why we floss, isn’t it?

Something that may be worth considering is that one of the authors of the 2013 study, Deborah Lyle, was employed by the Waterpik corporation from May 2004 until January 2022 as their Director of Clinical Research. Waterpik’s page for clinical research about water flossers lists many studies that include Deborah Lyle as a contributor.

However, other researchers were involved, and other studies exist that point to the effectiveness of water flossers. A 2021 study on the effectiveness of water flossers compared to string floss is an example, though they did not have such strong conclusions as the 2013 Deborah Lyle study did. They found instead that water flossers were just as effective as string floss, not more so. That is why they recommended water flossers to those with braces, retainers, or who have fine motor skill issues.

So, water flossers do seem to work and could potentially replace string floss or floss picks in your oral health routine. But are they superior to string floss? They might be, but considering, there doesn’t seem to be a reason to knock yourself if you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon just yet.

Are There Any Downsides to Water Flossers?

While great at cleaning your teeth, there are a few things to consider before you run out and get one. Water flossers can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria, according to a 2021 study. Put simply, because water flosser heads touch your mouth and stay wet, oral bacteria can grow on it. Even in spite of following provided cleaning recommendations. That’s not all, this study limited itself to studying only the nozzle, not the hose or water reservoir itself. So while trying to clean your mouth there is the possibility that you could be spraying your teeth with bacteria.

It’s no secret that toothbrushes can be a source of illness and can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. However, proper storage and sanitary precautions, even ones as simple as rinsing your toothbrush and letting it dry, have been shown to reduce bacteria considerably. Allowing it to dry is crucial and would be much more time-consuming to practice with a water flosser. Because a water flosser is a reservoir of water with an attached hose it seems proper cleaning would require draining it and its components and allowing them to dry after each use, at a minimum. Certainly more time-consuming than standard care and cleaning instructions would have you think is necessary for proper use.

Besides cleanliness, it’s also worth considering that no one is likely to travel with a water flosser. That just means that you’ll need to keep using string floss for overnight stays. That is to say, even if you get a water flosser, don’t throw out all your old string floss. You’ll still need it if you intend to keep up a daily hygiene routine.

If I Get One, What’s The Best Water Flosser? 

The ADA, the American Dental Association, has an approved list of water flossers. The ADA only allows its seal to be used on products that “include data from clinical and/or laboratory studies that demonstrate safety and efficacy according to product category requirements developed by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs”. The ADA is one of the largest professional organizations for dentists meaning that any product bearing the ADA seal can be reasonably trusted. If you are considering trying a water flosser we strongly encourage you to factor the ADA’s recommendations into your decision.

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What Foods Stain Teeth: Common Culprits

Many people wish that their teeth were whiter. One thing that you may not realize is causing your teeth to be discolored is the things that you eat. The foods you eat can actually have a significant effect on the color of your teeth. Join us at Modern Dentistry of Peoria as we dive into some of the most common foods that can stain your teeth.

Coffees & Teas

Tea and coffee are both highly acidic, which can weaken the surface of your teeth, making them more susceptible to staining. Tea and coffee also both contain tannins, which help their coloring stick to your teeth. There is some evidence that having milk in your tea or coffee can help reduce the amount of staining.

Sauces

Dark-colored sauces such as soy sauce, tomato sauce, and curries also cause staining. Switching to lighter or creamy sauces can help mitigate some of the staining.

Fruits & Berries

There are many vibrant fruits that can stain your teeth. Think of the fruits that can stain your clothes – pomegranates, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries just to name a few. In the same way that they can stain your clothes, they can stain your teeth.

Sodas

Sodas are highly acidic thanks to their carbonation. In addition, the dyes in these drinks – including light-colored ones – can cause staining. There are also chemicals in the drink that eat away at your enamel.

How to Mitigate Staining

There are several things you can do to mitigate the effects of food on the color of your teeth. While cutting out the food listed above would be the number one way to reduce their effect, even we enjoy having them so we’ve included things you can do to reduce the staining while still enjoying your favorite foods.

  • Use a straw. Using a straw when drinking your favorite beverage helps reduce the amount that the acidity and coloring of the drink come into contact with your teeth.
  • Brush after you eat. Brush your teeth about 30 minutes after you eat food that can stain. It’s important to wait a little bit of time to allow the acidity in your mouth to get balanced out so you don’t cause additional damage.
  • Rinse your mouth. If you cannot brush your teeth after eating, rinsing your mouth with water can help reduce the acidity of your mouth and remove some of the staining agents from your mouth.
  • Visit your dentist. Having regular checkups and teeth cleanings at your dentist is a great way to help your smile stay beautiful.

In addition to providing teeth cleanings, we also proudly offer teeth whitening services in Peoria, AZ. Please give our dental office a call at 623-566-1200 or use the link below to schedule an appointment for teeth cleaning or whitening.

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