I genuinely hate flossing. It’s time consuming and it is possibly the most annoying part of my daily routine, but I have to do it, or do I? Oral irrigators are an alternative to flossing and using Plackers, but how well does it stack up?
What are Oral Irrigators?
Oral Irrigators, most commonly referred to as water flossers or Waterpiks (the pioneering brand in the field) are at home dentalcare devices that use water at high pulsating pressure to remove plaque and debris between teeth and below the gum line. They are easy and convenient to use when compared to traditional dental floss, as it requires far less manual labour and reduces the time that it would take to floss. Water flossers are just as effective as the traditional dental floss when it comes to removing plaque from hard to reach areas.
Water flossers have numerous advantages, some of which include:
- Water flossers are well researched. Water flossers are not new, they have been around since 1962 and since then a lot of research has been done to test their efficiency, with over 20 clinical trials conducted in a 50-year period from 1962-2012.
- Water flossers are gentle on the gums and are less likely to cause injury than traditional floss and Plackers.
- Research has also shown that water flossers are much more effective at removing plaque, than traditional floss, with some studies revealing a whopping 30% greater efficiency.
- Additionally, you can add mouthwash to your water flosser, which can help to further reduce bacteria in your mouth.
- Oral irrigators are safe and convenient to use around challenging and hard to clean areas and dental appliances such as braces, dental implants and bridges, without the need for additional equipment.
- One oral irrigator will suffice for one household as they come with changeable tips some of which are colour-coded, so that individuals can easily identify their tips
- Oral irrigators are appropriate for people of almost any age; even children as young as six years with supervision.
The major disadvantage of oral irrigators is the price point. The most affordable options range from US$35-US$50 but can get as expensive as US$300. In addition to that oral irrigators are normally bulky and require space for storage. They also require access to electricity and water, making it difficult to use outside of the home, much unlike dental floss which can be taken on the go.
Whether it’s string floss or a $300 Waterpik, the important thing is, make sure you get the job done, because flossing is a key part of maintaining a healthy smile. So, go ahead and floss like a boss.
Which method do you find to be more effective? Tell us in the comments below.
Steven Moore is a General Dentist practicing in Jamaica. He graduated from the University of the West Indies in 2015 and completed a Dental Residency (AEGD) with the NYU Lutheran Medical Centre in 2017. He enjoys playing video games and practicing judo.