Water flosser vs traditional floss: Which types suitable for you?

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Water flosser vs traditional floss: Which is better? Let’s find out in this article below

What is a water flosser?

A water flosser, also known as an oral irrigator, is a handheld oral care device that uses a stream of water to remove food debris, plaque, and bacteria from between your teeth and gums. Water flossers, when used in conjunction with daily flossing, improves your oral care routine.

There are many different kinds of oral irrigators, but they all have a reservoir to hold the water, an electric motor to power the pump, and a special nozzle. To remove plaque, food particles, and bacteria, the motor and pump force a stream of pressurized water from the reservoir, through the nozzle, and between teeth.


Type — There are generally four different types of water flossers: countertop, cordless or battery operated, shower flosser, and faucet flosser.

  • Countertop — Heaviest and bulkiest of the four types. It sits on your countertop and plugs into a nearby electrical socket. They also come with an irrigation tank that you have to refill whenever it runs out of water.
  • Cordless or Battery-Operated — Typically slim, small, and portable. This type provides the most flexibility and is Ideal for travelers. They may not be as powerful as countertop flossers, however.
  • Shower Flosser — Attaches to your shower head so you can floss after (or before) you’ve showered. You don’t need electricity or batteries, and don’t have to worry about refills, but they’re generally more difficult to maneuver.
  • Faucet Flosser — The most common type of water flossers, similar to shower flossers, but with a cord that attaches to the water basins instead of your shower head. Like shower flosser models, the drawback is maneuverability.

Pressure Settings — Most top-rated water flossers have adjustable pressure capability, perfect for those with sensitive gums, implants or braces. A pulsating water setting is particularly effective at loosening tough-to-reach food particles.

Size — A compact and cordless design allows for greater maneuverability.

SEE MORE: Cleaning Water Flossers: How To Clean Water Flosser

Why should I use water flosser?

Water flossing should never be used as a substitute for regular brushing and flossing, but it is a great supplement to your daily routine. There are also instances where a water flosser may be an effective tool for you:

Bleeding Gums — There are a few common reasons why your gums would bleed. The first is gum disease. Gum disease, or periodontitis, is a bacterial infection in your gums. Left untreated, it could lead to tooth loss. Flossing too hard can also cause bleeding gums. Oral irrigators can be a great way to clean problem areas without the pain caused by regular string flossing.

You Have Braces — Food tends to get stuck behind brackets and underneath wires when you have braces. Water flossers are great for reaching those tough areas where food particles hide. Plaque around brackets can cause multiple dental problems, including gum disease if left untreated.

You Have Dry Mouth — Saliva naturally cleans your mouth and prevents sticky plaque buildup. However, certain medications and genetics can keep some people from producing enough. That could lead to gum disease and cavities. A water flosser easily adds moisture to a dry mouth and removes sticky plaque.

Food Always Gets Stuck in Your Teeth — Some people are more susceptible to getting food stuck in their teeth than others. It could be due to the shape of your teeth, or that they’re not perfectly aligned. Food can also get stuck around dental work like bridges and dental implants. A Water Flosser is the perfect tool to clean problem areas for people more prone to getting food stuck in their teeth, whether from genetics, bridges or implants. To continue to get your best clean, be sure to follow a thorough oral care routine consisting of:

What is traditional floss?

Traditional floss is a cord of thin filaments used in interdental cleaning to remove food and dental plaque from between teeth or places a toothbrush has difficulty reaching or is unable to reach. Its regular use as part of oral cleaning is designed to maintain oral health.

Traditional floss is usually made from one of two polymers, nylon or teflon, in which:

Nilon is the fiber of a long-chain synthetic polyamide. It is also a compound characterized by more than one amide group – related to ammonia. Teflon is the trade name for the polymer compound polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). In addition, some other auxiliary materials may include coatings (such as wax), flavorings, other ingredients… depending on the manufacturer.

Traditional floss
Traditional floss

Why should I use traditional floss?

From the age of 12, you should use interdental brushes in addition to brushing as part of your daily oral health routine.

Because some people do not have enough space between their teeth to use an interdental brush, flossing can be a good alternative.

Water flosser vs traditional floss

Traditional floss is the “gold standard” that dentists and dental hygienists recommend. When done correctly and on a regular basis, it has been shown to be effective in preventing gingivitis and gum disease. Floss containers are also small and portable, allowing you to carry floss with you wherever you go in your purse, backpack, or desk drawer.

Water flossers are an excellent alternative to traditional flossing for people who have difficulty flossing manually. Water flossers can help you keep your teeth clean if you have had dental work that makes flossing difficult, such as braces or bridges. There is also less waste in your trash can after flossing because you are not discarding string sections.

Water flosser vs traditional floss
Water flosser vs traditional floss

However, a water flosser typically includes a water tank and needs electricity to work. A water flosser isn’t as convenient and portable as traditional floss.

The ADA recommends flossing with devices designed for cleaning teeth, such as string floss and water flossers, for disease prevention and oral health. Water flossers are an excellent alternative to manual flossing for removing food debris and plaque. The most important thing is that flossing is part of your daily oral care routine and that you’re not flossing with inappropriate items like your fingernails or pieces of paper. Floss at least once a day after brushing to ensure that debris and plaque are removed from hard-to-reach areas of your teeth.

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