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Water Picks vs. Floss: Is That Even a Question?

By Jill Hamilton on November 21, 2013 in Dental Health


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“Rinse, Brush, Floss” alerts a loud sign on the door of my dentist's office. If you rinse, brush and floss, there is something more you can do to ensure that your dentist is pleased the next time you walk in the door – use a water pick.

What is a Water Pick?

A water pick uses hydraulic pressure to loosen and pry out leftover food particles and bacteria from between teeth. It is far different and more intensive than simple rinsing as the water pick uses pulsating and pressurized jets of water to drive out those leftover food particles. Some water picks come with detachable add-ons that can make the tiresome task of cleaning your braces a walk in the park. The pressure of the jets can also be adjusted to suit a gentle or a more intensive cleaning. Because it doesn't poke or prod sensitive gums, studies show that water picks are quite effective at controlling gingivitis. Wait; are you thinking what I think you're thinking? An excellent replacement for flossing!

Water Pick vs. Floss – No, It's Not a Question

Don't get your hopes up too quickly. Most dentists will be quick to point out that as virtuous as the water pick is, it is NOT a replacement for good old flossing. Flossing, done the right way, still reins when it comes to eliminating stubborn plaque and bacteria from the side surfaces of teeth. Remember, though that if it isn't done right, flossing can cause gum bleeding and can aggravate existing inflammation. That being said, it still has an advantage over the water pick. Though the water pick has proven success to a considerable degree, it lacks the friction required to remove plaque adequately. The water pick is an excellent complement but definitely not a replacement to flossing.

Do you use a water pick? How do you like it? Let us know in the comments!