Are you dreading flossing during orthodontic treatment? You’ve heard there’s some soreness associated with the first few days of Invisalign as your teeth begin their journey into healthy alignment. But what if your teeth are too sore for you to put a string of floss through? And all your friends keep saying using a waterpik water flosser made flossing so easy and soothing.
But how do water flossers work and are they effective? Let’s compare the two best methods to cleaning between your teeth – waterpik vs flossing!
Is a waterpik better than flossing?
Now no one flossing method is better than the other. Both waterpik water flossers and traditional flossing are extremely effective ways of removing plaque and leftover food particles from between your teeth and beneath your gums. Just like you chose the best orthodontic treatment option for you, it’s now time to find the best flossing method for you! So let’s go over how each method will work and their pros and cons to each!
Using a waterpik water flosser with Invisalign
Waterpik® is an ADA-accepted brand of oral irrigators or water flossers. It’s easily the most popular tool to use when flossing during orthodontic treatment! Waterpiks use a stream of pulsating water to remove food particles and plaque from your teeth and gums. So the effects can be quite soothing on your sore teeth and gum and cheek tissues.
How do (waterpik) water flossers work? Let’s go over the steps on using a Waterpik water flosser:
- Fill reservoir with warm water then return reservoir to base.
- Select a flosser tip and click into the handle (For first use, set the pressure control dial to high. Point the tip into the sink and turn on until water flows. Turn unit off.)
- Beginning with the lowest pressure setting, lean over the sink and place flosser in your mouth.
- Turn your water-flosser on.
- *You can close your lips slightly to prevent splashing (letting water flow from your mouth into sink)
- Gently guide the flosser tip along your gum line to the space between your teeth.
- Be sure to use your Waterpik on both sides of your teeth—front and back!
- When finished, turn your water-flosser off and use the tip eject button to remove the tip.
- Make sure to drain the reservoir after every use.
Now that you have a better picture of how water flossers work, let’s check out the advantages and disadvantages of waterpik water flossers.
- Gentle on gums. Water is more soothing than dental floss – especially on sensitive gums!
- Easy to use.
- Effectively removes plaque. Studies have shown that waterpik water flossers remove 29% more plaque than dental floss.
- Reduces gingivitis and gum bleeding.
- Messy. With water flossers, water can easily get all over your sink, floor, or face.
- Can be expensive.
- May not remove all plaque from teeth.
- Requires cleaning after every use.
Using traditional floss with Invisalign
Traditional string dental floss is still king of the dental hygiene world.
Here’s the recommended flossing technique:
- Cut about 18 inches of waxed floss and wrap the ends of the floss around your pointer finger.
- Form the letter ‘C’ with your floss, hugging to the side of one tooth.
- Gently move floss back and forth, slowly rising up to tuck under the curve of your gum and back down.
- Repeat on the next tooth, taking care not to use the same section of floss
- Continue until the sides of all your teeth have been cleaned!
So how does traditional floss compare to a water flosser? Let’s review the pros and cons of flossing with dental string.
- Extremely effective at plaque removal. Dental floss lifts the bacterial film off your teeth instead of rinsing it with water.
- Cost-effective. Buying more than 130 yards of dental floss is under $10 (that’s 260 flossing sessions) while a Waterpik water flosser ranges from $50 -$140.
- Travels well.
- More abrasive on gums. Gums are more prone to bleeding.
- Harder to use than a Waterpik water flosser.
- Awkward to maneuver.
Why is flossing important?
Flossing is absolutely essential. No matter the type of orthodontic treatment you choose Invisalign® or braces) or if you don’t undergo treatment at all, you still need to make flossing a part of your daily oral hygiene routine.
As the ADA (American Dental Association) says, “Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush can’t reach.”
Your toothbrush brushes the surfaces of your teeth, but think of all the spaces between your teeth, where food particles get stuck and bacteria starts to build up over time.
Not flossing will leave food particles stuck between your teeth and under your gums leading to plaque build-up, gum disease, and cavities.
Protect your smile-in-progress with the best flossing method for you!
Taking care of your teeth is how you experience the best possible results from your orthodontic treatment. When you take care of your teeth, they take care of you! Your diligence in keeping your teeth clean will reward you with a healthy, beautiful smile.