If you are one of the millions of people who watched season one of the Netflix reboot of Queer Eye you should be familiar with water flossing. Grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness stressed the importance of oral hygiene to Remington who, like many, failed to floss daily. Jonathan explained “we wanna floss, but sometimes it’s like, ‘who really wants to floss?’” and that is when he presented Remington with his new water flosser to “get the crap out from between your teeth.” Jonathan was very blunt with the explanation, but is everything he is saying true? How effective is water flossing and can it replace regular flossing?
If you are unfamiliar with the episode, let’s first break down what a water flosser is. A water flosser is a device that shoots out a thin stream of water at a high velocity that removes plaque and harmful bacteria when aimed at your gum line. The water flosser is used as an addition to or a replacement for traditional string flossing. The handheld device is great for patients with braces or dental work that is harder to clean with spring flossing.
Start off by tearing a generous piece of floss and hold the floss tightly between two hands. Slide the piece of floss between your teeth and make a C-shape around your tooth to clean all sides of the tooth. Move the floss up, down, and side to side against each tooth.
To water floss correctly, add warm water to your water flossing device. Slightly close your lips around the tip of the device while leaning over a sink to prevent water from spraying in unwanted places. On a low setting, trace your gum line with the water stream both in front and behind your teeth.
Every patient’s needs are unique and different, so you should have a conversation with your dentist to decide what method is best for you. Generally speaking, traditional string flossing is best when it is done properly. Some may find that they are unable to floss correctly or, like Remington, you just refuse to floss and for these people, water flossing is a great option for you. Water flossing is not very technique-sensitive, meaning that it is difficult to perform the task incorrectly. It is also not as precise as regular flossing, meaning that it is easier to miss some food particles or bacteria, yet it is a great stepping stone to better oral health.
Phillips did a study and found that 89% of users say it is an easier task to perform than string flossing. So if you are like Remington and string flossing isn’t for you, start with a water flosser and move up from there.
For more information on oral health or to schedule an exam with your dentist call OC Healthy Smiles at(714) 545-0484.