I've been told for years, since I was a little kid, that I need to floss every day because my toothbrush cannot clean between my teeth. Truth be told, I didn't actually start flossing my teeth regularly until sometime during my first or second year of dental school, after I'd seen enough pictures of periodontal disease and lost teeth in people with no cavities. So I was basically scared into flossing. Since then I'd say I've been a pretty faithful "flosser", though I admit I do not floss every single night...more like 4 or 5 nights a week.
The Water Pik: A Flossing Alternative
I talk to patients every day at the dental office here in Birmingham AL, and quite often the subject of flossing comes up. I'd guess that at least 70% of the people I've asked over the years either do not floss, or only do it when they feel there's something stuck between their teeth. And from looking at folks' gums during regular hygiene exams, even those that do floss often are not doing it 100% correctly (especially around the very back molars, or around crowns and under bridges). I've often felt there had to be a better way for my patients, since being told over and over and over by the hygienist and myself to floss more didn't seem to work. Well, I think I've found that better way!
Last year my father-in-law decided to do an experiment on himself. For one month he stopped flossing completely, and instead used a Water Pik every night before bed. At the end of the month he had me take a look at his gum health, and I'll tell you it was MUCH improved from what it had been before he started using the Water Pik. Something that made this even more interesting to me is that I know for a fact that he had been a regular, faithful flosser for years.
So for just over a year now my hygienists and I have been mentioning the Water Pik for any of our patients with gum recession, crowns, bridges, implants...and those who just don't like to floss or don't seem to be doing it correctly. And the results have been fantastic! Patients keep telling us how much more they like the Water Pik than floss, and how they feel like it gets their teeth and gums a lot cleaner.
So, while it may seem like blasphemy that I, a dentist, would say there's something out there as good or better than flossing; in my experience, for a lot of my patients, there is! Give us a call today to learn more tips and tricks about maintaining oral health for you and your entire family.