Waterpik vs. Flossing

on November 20, 2013

Do you hate flossing? Then perhaps a Waterpik is a better option for you. Today we are going to present the differences between flossing and using a Waterpik. Both mechanisms are good for removing food from between teeth, but there are pros and cons to each.


Pros: Flossing is the best way to mechanically remove food and plaque between teeth and below the gumline. By rubbing the floss up and down against the sides of your teeth you can remove the biofilm that, if left unchecked; forms tartar and can lead to periodontitis (gum disease).

Cons: Flossing can be difficult for patients with braces or restorations. Getting under a bridge or the wire from orthodontics requires extra care and special tools. It is easier to miss areas of your teeth when using floss to clean around crowns and implants.


Pros: Using the Waterpik is easy and quick: it uses jets of water to blast particles out from between teeth. The Waterpik has tips specific for use with periodontal disease, so it can reach into the pockets to clean debris from under the gumline in areas that floss may not be able to reach. The Waterpik also works well for cleaning around heavily restored teeth – such as crowns, implants, and bridges. The high pressure water can reach into many small spaces that floss wouldn’t be able to reach.

Cons: When you are first learning to use the WaterPik it can be messy as the water may spray around, so there is a learning curve to using this device. The cost for the Waterpik and replacement heads is more than normal floss, which may be prohibitive for some people. The company recommends changing your Waterpik tips every 3 to 6 months depending on the tip you are using.

Our Evanston dental office recommends a Waterpik to patients with lots of major restorations (such as crowns and bridges), patients with orthodontics, and patients who have trouble flossing regularly. For these patients a Waterpik is able to help keep their teeth clean better than brushing alone. If you are interested in learning more about the Waterpik, feel free to visit our office. Our hygienists have models to show you more about how they work and will help you figure out if a Waterpik is right for you.

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