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Our office number: +36-20-427-7166

Ireland Toll Free (From landline only): +353-1-800-817-333

UK Toll Free: +44-0-808-258-0095

Waterpik vs. flossing: What is best

Sep 15th, 2017

Most people know to brush and floss their teeth regularly. However, many people have questions about whether water flossing is an alternative to traditional flossing.


Brushing the teeth is an effective way of removing food plaque from the surfaces of the teeth. However, it is not a really efficient way to get rid of food stuck in between the teeth or below the gum line.
Flossing is definitely recommended as it is an affordable and quick way to remove food particles that a toothbrush cannot reach.
The process of flossing uses a thin piece of string that is passed in between each of the teeth. This string gently scrapes up and down each surface of the tooth to move plaque and food particles off of the tooth and out from under the gums.


There are several advantages to traditional flossing. It is a very efficient method of removing excess food off of the teeth.
Floss does not cost much money and is easily accessible from any pharmacy or grocery store. Flossing is quick and easy, and can be done anywhere.


Despite the many advantages to flossing, there are several disadvantages as well. These include:

  • difficulty reaching some areas of the mouth with floss
  • flossing can cause minor bleeding, especially if not done regularly
  • worsening or causing gum sensitivity
  • floss can sometimes be difficult to handle by some people

Even with these negatives, it is still important to floss regularly. If people find flossing especially difficult or painful, they should check in with the dentist to make sure that there isn't a more serious problem.

Water picking

Water picking is also known as water flossing and is different to traditional flossing.
Water picking can reach areas that flossing may not, but the device can be expensive and is not easily portable.
Water picking utilizes a special machine that directs a stream of water into the mouth and gums. Rather than scraping the teeth to remove plaque, water flossing uses the pressure of the water to massage the gums and push the food away from the teeth.


Water picking has many advantages. A waterpik is easy to use, especially for people with braces, or other types of dental work like permanent or temporary bridges.

The massage action can also improve gum health and reach areas that can't be reached with traditional floss.


There are many disadvantages to using a water flosser as well.
A waterpik can be expensive to purchase, and will need space for storage. It requires access to electricity and water, making it difficult to use outside of the home.

Which is better?

Which of these two techniques is best is an ongoing question and there really is no right answer. The most important thing is to clean between the teeth and under the gums each day.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry compared the efficacy of a water flosser to string floss used in combination with a manual toothbrush. The researchers found that the group who used the waterpik had a 74.4 percent reduction in plaque as compared to a 57.7 percent reduction in the group who used the string floss.

Other studies also found that people who used water picking saw a greater reduction in gingivitis and gum bleeding as compared with string floss.
However, many dentists and hygienists still recommend string flossing, either in addition to or instead of water flossing.

Best practices for oral health

In addition to string flossing or water picking, there are several best practices that are associated with good oral health. They include:

  • brushing the teeth thoroughly twice a day
  • flossing once a day
  • flossing with both string and water, if possible
  • visiting the dentist regularly for cleanings, X-rays, and check-ups

Good dental hygiene is not just essential for healthy teeth and gums. Good dental care is known to impact one's overall health as well.

Galan, Nicole. "Waterpik vs. flossing: What is best?." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 24 Feb. 2017. Web.
15 Sep. 2017. <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315992.php>


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