For most of us, dental hygiene is fairly high on our list of priorities. We brush, we floss, and we dread dental checkups, but we go anyways—or at least convince ourselves that we’ll set up the appointment.We all desire that pearly white, healthy smile and want to prevent things like cavities and gum disease, but with so many dental products on the market, it can be difficult to know which ones are right for us. Is traditional flossing better than water flossing? Will an electric toothbrush clean better than a traditional one? With every commercial telling us something different, it’s tough to decipher the advertisements and get to the facts.
Water flossing uses an electric machine to shoot a pressurized stream of water into the mouth, using the water pressure to clean food, bacteria, and plaque from between the teeth and to massage the gums. Since there is no scraping against your gums, water flossing is thought to be easier on them and can more easily get to the back of the mouth where traditional flossing might have trouble. It is easy to use for people with braces or dental work like crowns and bridges and can be softer for those with sensitive gums. The Waterpik® Water Flosser was the first powered interdental cleaner to receive the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. Water flossing may not remove all plaque from the teeth, and since it is electric, you will also need access to an outlet and plenty of water to fill the machine, which makes it difficult if travelling.
Floss has been around since the 1800s and is still considered a gold standard for dental hygiene. The string removes bacteria, plaque, and food particles from between the teeth and the gum line that brushing does not.Dental floss is easy to control and is efficient, portable, and cheap; however,since you are passing a string between your teeth and in the tight crevices, it may be difficult to reach areas in the back of the mouth. It can also cause minor bleeding and gum sensitivity, especially if not done on a regular basis.
Electric toothbrushes have become increasingly popular over the years and for good reasons. Several studies have indicated that certain types of electric toothbrushes may be better at preventing plaque and gum disease than the manual toothbrush, specifically the ones that have a rotational oscillating brush head (meaning that they have bristles that move in one direction and then the other). Electric toothbrushes are easy to use since the brush does all the work, and some even have a built-in timer to let you know when you are finished. This convenience, however, does come with some caveats. Because it is electric, it needs to be charged, which makes travelling with it a chore. It is also much bulkier than a manual toothbrush and is easier to break, especially if dropped. It also costs much more than a manual toothbrush.
Although not as fancy, a manual toothbrush still gets the job done. Traditional toothbrushes are reliable products that will thoroughly clean your teeth as long as you brush correctly, meaning twice a day for two minutes each time. They’re cheap, sometimes even free with a trip to your dentist, and offer several varieties including color choices, brush size, and bristle strength, ranging from extra soft to hard. With manual toothbrushes, there is no need to worry about charging or batteries, and it is small enough to fit in a purse. As the word “manual” implies, a traditional toothbrush is more work since you have to provide the brushing movement with good technique to get your teeth clean.
WHICH IS BETTER?
This decision is up to personal preference. What feels better for your mouth? Is it the ease of using a water flosser and an electric toothbrush, or do you prefer the traditional feeling of string floss and a manual toothbrush? Even with constant studies performed, there is still no clear winner. Some studies say that water flossing and electric toothbrushes have a higher percentage of plaque removal and a greater reduction of gingivitis, but truthfully, all of these products will do the job well. The most important thing is consistency. It is recommended to brush and floss your teeth twice a day and attend regular check-ups with your dentist.
HOW TO FLOSS YOUR TEETH WITH BRACES
If you’ve ever been to the dentist, you know that daily brushing and flossing are important for dental health. However, because flossing with braces can be more difficult and time-consuming than flossing without braces,it’s all too easy to neglect it. You should continue to floss daily throughout your teeth straightening treatment if you want to ensure that your teeth are healthy, beautiful, strong, and straight when your orthodontic treatment is over. Knowing how to floss with braces will help you tackle it head on and keep up with your oral hygiene.
CHOOSE YOUR FLOSS
There are many types of dental floss. It is best to use a thin, wax-coated floss when you have braces. Unwaxed floss tends to be more thread-like and can easily get caught and shredded in your braces. You may also want to invest in a floss threader, which is a small dental tool that will make it easier to thread the floss around your wires.
STEPS TO FLOSSING WITH BRACES
Rinse your mouth to loosen any food particles.
Brush your teeth for at least two full minutes, carefully cleaning all around each bracket.
Floss the parts of your teeth that are easily accessed (that don’t require you to thread floss around the wires. Place a string of floss between each tooth and use a sawing motion to remove any loose particles.
To floss the base of each tooth near the gums, thread the string of floss under the main wire. A floss threader can help you do this more easily.
Pull the floss between the two teeth to the base of the gum line.
Hug the floss to the side of one tooth and gently move it up and down. Then hug the side of the adjacent tooth and do the same.
Repeat steps 4 through 6 with the next pair of teeth. Some teeth may have a larger gap between them while others may be quite snug. Do your best to floss between each pair as carefully as possible.
Be sure to floss around the outside of your last set of molars as well. Simply hug the floss around the tooth and move it up and down.
CONSIDER AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH
Electric toothbrushes offer much more power and are scientifically proven to be significantly more effective than manual toothbrushes at getting rid of plaque and improving gum health. An electric toothbrush can help get between the brackets and wires to remove bacteria before it becomes a problem.