Can Oral Irrigators Replace the Traditional Dental Floss?

Toothbrushes can’t reach in between teeth, therefore unable to clean those nooks and crannies in your mouth. That is why there are interproximal devices such as dental floss and dental water jets to do that exact job. However, the question here is, are oral irrigations possible alternatives to dental floss? Let’s find out.
Dental floss is a flexible cord of thin nylon or plastic filaments that is mechanically used to remove food particles or debris stuck between the teeth and to prevent bacteria to form and harden into plaque.
An oral irrigator, on the other hand, works just about the same. But instead of a strand of filaments, an oral irrigator aim to remove debris by a pulsating stream of water.
Careful Considerations: Dental Floss Vs. Dental Water Jet
To get you a better picture of the comparison, here are several pros and cons of the two interdental devices.
The Pros

Dental Floss Dental Water Jet
  • It is an inexpensive way to help keep gums and teeth in good trim


  • It works in very tight spaces between the teeth


  • It can able to scrape the sides of your teeth where plaque buildup is high


  • It is a good compliment to a regular oral health routine


  • When in moderate speed, it can be gentle on the gums. Hence, it is less likely to cause bleeding


  • It is ideal for people who wear braces because water gets in between the wires and brackets easily


The Cons

Dental Floss Dental Water Jet
  • Its mechanical nature can be abrasive


  • Using it can be a challenge for those individuals wearing braces


  • It can irritate sensitive gums and may even cause bleeding to some individuals


  • It does not remove plaque as good as floss. Generally, it just rinses the teeth.


  • Plaque is more likely to form in the gaps of the teeth


  • It is much more expensive than flossing

Final Call
While oral irrigation is an effective tool against bleeding and gingival inflammation, dental floss is a potent device for removing bacteria and plaque buildup on the teeth.
Ultimately, using both dental floss and a dental water jet as an add-on to anyone’s oral hygiene routine is the better option. There may be a couple of glitches with both devices but when used together along with brushing can do wonders for your teeth and gums.
Talk to your Scottsdale dentist to learn more about interproximal devices and how they can improve your oral health.

Tell the Difference: 5 Kinds of Water Flosser Tips

With the advent of oral irrigations such as water flossers, mankind can now floss with water instead of string. Though it is not generally recommended as a dental floss substitute, water flossers combined with brushing and flossing can make a world of a positive difference to our oral health.
Similar to a traditional dental floss, water flossers aim to effectively prevent plaque buildup and keep tooth decay and gum disease under control. In addition, these kinds of interdental device provide an array of tip options for reducing plaque, gingivitis and bleeding. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know the difference and tell one from the other?

Here are some of the most popular kinds of flosser tips.

Pocket-Cleaning Tip

A Periodontal pocket is an unusually deep depression in the gum where bacteria can grow and more plaque can develop leading to infections and bone loss. Since it’s hard to remove particles and debris in a periodontal pocket, an effective device for this job would be the water flosser with a pocket tip. Its pulsing water goes deep into periodontal pockets where a toothbrush or even a string flosser cannot reach.

Plaque Busting Tip

Plaque is a sticky bacterial deposit on the teeth that produces acids which gradually diminish the tooth enamel. This sticky deposit, if left untreated, becomes a hardened dental plaque commonly known as tartar. Regular brushing may control plaque proliferation. However, when neglected, it can form a coating that is resistant to brushing. This is where a plaque-seeking tip comes in handy. Its soft bristles scrub away plaque and get into difficult to reach spaces between your teeth with damaging the gums. Other dental restorations.

Toothbrush Tip

Looking like a standard electric toothbrush, a water flosser toothbrush tip works by pulsing water jets to loosen stubborn debris stuck between teeth. This tool is a good compliment to your brushing and flossing because it helps loosen and flush food particles away.

Tongue-Cleaning Tip

Your tongue can also be put in risk if it doesn’t get proper care. Coating of debris and bacteria on the surface of the tongue can accumulate and migrate to your gums and teeth, minimizing the effectiveness of your brushing efforts. A nifty tool to fight against this bacterial buildup is the tongue cleaner. With the help of a water flosser, it gently scrapes and washes away the furry buildup off of the tongue.

Orthodontic Tip

Undergoing orthodontic treatment can be discomforting and frustrating, most especially when trying to brush and floss around the wires and brackets. An orthodontic tip may ease your frustrations by simultaneously brushing and rinsing your braces giving those food particles and bacteria the boot while keeping your gums and teeth safe in the process.

Don’t Let Lame Excuses Get in the Way of Your Flossing

We get it—flossing is time consuming, awkward, and just not an easy task. But this should not be the reason to make more excuses and not floss.
When it comes to dental health, flossing is as vital as brushing—it may even be more important for our overall well-being. So, why do so many people find all sorts of excuses not to do it? According to dentists is Scottsdale, there are simple solutions for such excuses.

1. I have no idea how to floss.

Among all the personal grooming activities there is, flossing is probably the most difficult. However, it is one of the most essential to learn.
To do it right, use about 18 inches of floss. Tightly grasp the string with your forefinger and thumb, and then rub it between teeth. Follow the shape of each tooth (including the back of your last molar) when flossing near the gum line. And remember to use fresh sections of the string as you go.

2. Food does not get stuck between my teeth.

You do not floss just to remove food particles and debris off the spaces between your teeth. You floss to get rid of plaque along the gum line. Brushing alone will not be able to do the job. So whether or not you have food trapped in your teeth, flossing is a must. If you do not want to suffer from gum disease or tooth loss, then you better start flossing, or have your dentist deep clean your teeth.

3. My gums bleed when I floss.

Floss is not actually the reason why your gums are bleeding. In fact, bleeding or swollen gums are even bigger reasons for you to floss. Gingivitis is frequently caused by poor oral hygiene. If you floss regularly, you may prevent it. However, doing the opposite may make the bleeding worse.
Routine flossing, accompanied by regular brushing, should stop the pain and/or bleeding. If it does not stop after 2 weeks of trying, consult your dentist.

4. Flossing takes too much of my time.

You only need to floss at least once a day, twice the most. So make time for it. Keep in mind that you do not necessarily have to do it in front of the bathroom mirror. You can stash some in your bag and use it after lunch, or when you’re in your car and you’re stuck in traffic. The key is making it part of and fitting it in your daily routine whenever you can.

5. I have no dexterity.

If dexterity is the only problem, why not try other flossing tools? There are disposable floss picks and floss holders that you can easily purchase. Y-shaped flossers even allow for extra reach if you have difficulty reaching your molars. Power floss holders, as well as a dental water jet are also great alternatives for those individuals having trouble using dental floss.
Talk to one of our dentists in Scottsdale to find out what other options may be available for you.

About The Author

Dr. Boyle

Dr. Megan Peterson Boyle

Dr. Megan Peterson Boyle completed her Doctorate in Dental Medicine from Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine in Glendale, AZ. As a leader in the field of cosmetic dentistry and full-mouth rehabilitation, she is committed to providing exceptional dental care to the local community. She is also affiliated with prestigious organizations, including the American Dental Association. Her extensive involvement in these reputable institutions speaks to her commitment to advancing the field of dentistry.