Importance of flossing and is a water flosser a good alternative?

First off, I have to say that I am in the 88% of the United State’s population that doesn’t floss on a daily basis. I know I should floss more, but I am really not a big fan of the process of pushing and scrapping with a piece of string in-between my teeth to get the food particulars and plaque out. I do know that by not doing it on a daily basis I am not doing justice to my oral health care. By only brushing (and not  flossing) “is comparable to cleaning only 65% of your [mouth] leaving the [remaining] 35% dirty.”1

Another advantage of flossing is it can help prevent gingivitis by preventing the formation of calculus or tartar. Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis.2 According to the CDC there is “growing body of evidence suggests that periodontitis, in addition to being a major cause of tooth loss in adults, also enhances risk for several potentially deadly systemic diseases and conditions.” 3 According to Matt Cunningham of HowStuffWorks, there is extensive research that “has shown that the bacteria that flourish in an unhealthy mouth can harm the rest of the body, leading to heart disease, diabetes and respiratory illness.”4

So knowing all of this, why do I still not floss on a regular basis? To be honest I just don’t like it, I am so tired at the end of the day that flossing just seems to take so long and I find my gums get irritated and bleed when I do it.

Recently though, I had a friend introduce me to a water flosser (also known as waterpik). It uses pulsating jets of water to force the food, bacteria and plaque out from in-between the teeth.

According to the study by University of Southern California School (USC) of Dentistry Center for Biofilms, water flossing jets “can play a big part in the fight against harmful oral biofilms.” 5  Parish Sedghizadeh, director of the Center for Biofilms (USC) says that “bacteria in biofilms are responsible for many types of infections, including oral diseases … the pulsating, pressurized jets of water appear to physically detach the biofilms from oral tissue, including teeth and exposed jawbone.” 5

A 2007 study by Barnes demonstrated that a Water Flosser added to either manual or power tooth brushing was up to 93% more effective than a manual toothbrush and flossing at reducing bleeding, and was up to 52% better at reducing gingivitis.6

Therefore I had to get one for myself. I chose to get the Sterline Counter Top Water Flosser. This water flosser was easy to setup and best of all has multiple attachments and water pressure setting. It comes with three flossing picks, each with a different color band – which is brilliant for our family as my husband, daughter, and myself can have our own color. There is also a nozzle for braces and a tip for periodontal pockets. Even though none of us have braces at the moment it might be needed as my daughter gets older.  I do feel the difference and I actually enjoy using it.

My husband, who flosses even less often than me, has been using the water flosser every day.  He loves that it makes his teeth feel extra clean!  I did find that the periodontal pocket nozzle did make my gums a little tender but I believe this means that it was successful in removing biofilm and plaque from these pockets.

I love the fact the Sterline water flosser seems to push out a lot more debris from in-between my teeth than even regular flossing does. I have also noticed a reduction in my “morning breath,” that is because all that left-over food is not rotting away in-between my teeth.

My 7 year old daughter was a little afraid of it at first. I think she got a fright when the water jet hit her gums. But over a few days she was brave enough to try it again, now she loves it as much as we do and uses it every day.  And if you’ve ever had to help a child floss, you’ll know how hard that can be and this water flosser makes the whole process so much easier.

One other bonus is I love that I can take this traveling – especial if I visit family in Australia; the Sterline water flosser unit is compatible with a 100-240v outlet and can be used worldwide.

So if you are in the 88% that doesn’t like flossing with conventional wax string or tape floss you might like to get the Sterline Counter Top Water Flosser

I received this Sterline water flosser at a discount in exchange for my honest review.





4  Matt Cunningham “5 Reasons Why Flossing is Extremely Important” 7 September 2011.



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