Water Flossing vs Traditional Flossing

Posted by on Apr 27, 2014 in Blogs | 3 comments

Waterpik-ultra-water-flosserWater flossers are an alternative to traditional flossing.  Popular water flossers like the “Waterpik” use a pulsating stream of water of different pressures to whisk away food particles and bacteria stuck in between teeth.  Traditional flossing, on the other hand, uses a string of floss in order to rub against the tight junctions between individual teeth to also remove plaque, bacteria, and food particles.

Traditional floss is most effective in removing plaque and preventing plaque from becoming tartar (hardened plaque).  Tartar, also known as dental calculus, can cause gingivitis which can be a risk factor for ultimately developing gum disease.  An ADA spokesperson and Chicago-based dentist, Mary Hayes says, “Flossing scrapes off the sticky film of bacteria, while a Waterpik just rinses it.”  However, one way in which water flossing can be beneficial is if you have braces and traditional flossing becomes more difficult for you.  Water flossing can easily be navigated between the network of wires and brackets while string floss can be much more cumbersome.  Regardless, many dentists warn that water flossing should never replace traditional flossing.

Both water flossers and traditional flossing are effective in maintaing good oral health.  People are advised to floss at least once every day to get rid of particles that are unable to be reached by regular brushing.  People are more likely to use a water flosser daily because it is more enjoyable and fun to use.  However, many dentists agree that traditional flossing is still the best method to clean the hard to reach places between teeth.  Furthermore, traditional floss is much more mobile in the sense that you can carry a floss pick or a spool of floss almost anywhere you go.  Using both a water flosser and a traditional flosser would be a great addition to an oral healthcare routine, but not necessary.  If you decide to employ both methods of flossing into your routine, first use the string floss first to break up plaque.  Then, use the water floss to flush the debris out and follow up with your normal brushing routine with fluoride toothpaste.  

In order to ensure that you are flossing correctly, following these illustrated guidelines:

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. Kim or Dr.PradhanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.








Flossing instructions image: http://wichitafamilydentistry.com/how2floss.jpg

Image credit: http://waterpikultrawaterflosserreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Waterpik-ultra-water-flosser.jpg


  1. My patients ask me this all the time.

  2. Thank you for your 2 cents, John 🙂

  3. Most people don’t floss every day because it’s boring and doesn’t provide that sense of freshness like tooth-brushing. Water flossers are more fun to use and most people improve their flossing habits drastically with them. Just my 2 cents, nice blog by the way.

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