The Importance of Oral Hygiene: Comparing Water Flossers, Traditional Floss, and Orthopicks

Good oral hygiene is an important part of maintaining a healthy smile and your overall health. Brushing twice a day and cleaning regularly between your teeth and along the gumline helps prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health issues. Traditional flossing has long been the go-to method for cleaning, alternative tools like water flossers and micro dental flossers have gained popularity in recent years. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between these methods and their benefits.

Traditional Flossing

Using a thin nylon string to clean between the teeth. It helps to remove plaque and food particles, preventing the buildup of harmful bacteria.

    1. Wind 18 inches of floss around your middle finger and/or index finger of one hand, and a small amount onto the middle and/or index finger of the other hand. You want enough to keep a clean segment in place as you move from tooth to tooth. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a one- to two-inch length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth.
    2. Holding the floss firmly against the tooth, gently slide the floss in a C-shape between the gum and the tooth.
    3. As you move from tooth to tooth, unroll a fresh section of floss from the finger of one hand while rolling the used floss onto the finger of the other hand. Use your thumb as a guide. This should be continued until you reach the back of the last tooth.
    4. Repeat this method on your bottom teeth.

Water Flossers

Water flossers use a pulsating stream of water to clean between the teeth and along the gumline. They work by directing a controlled jet of water into the mouth, effectively removing debris and bacteria from hard-to-reach areas. Water flossers are especially beneficial for individuals with braces, implants, or bridges, as they can effectively clean around these dental appliances. They are also useful for individuals with sensitive gums who may find traditional flossing uncomfortable or irritating. One advantage of water flossers is their ability to massage the gums, promoting blood circulation and gum health. The pulsating action stimulates the gum tissue and can provide relief for individuals with mild gum disease or gingivitis.

  1. Aim for the water flower at the top of the tooth, the baseline of the gum, and the space between each tooth.
  2. Hold it over each tooth for about two seconds, repeating the process on the inside and outside of your teeth until your whole mouth is treated.
  3. This should take you about two minutes to complete.

Water flossers can be filled with an antibacterial mouthwash to help enhance its cleansing effects and provide additional benefits to oral health. However, it’s important to note that water flossers should not be used as a substitute for brushing; they are intended to complement regular brushing and flossing routines.


Also known as dental picks or just picks, are single-use plastic devices that have a small nylon string with a pointed end designed to remove plaque and debris from between the teeth and are designed for interdental cleaning. Picks are convenient and portable, making them a popular choice for on-the-go oral hygiene. They can be used to dislodge food and are particularly useful after meals. However, picks are less effective than floss or water flossers in removing plaque, as they do not provide the same level of contact with the tooth surface and gumline.

When it comes to choosing the most effective floss for cleaning, it’s important to consider individual needs and preferences. Traditional flossing remains a reliable and widely recommended method for removing plaque and maintaining good oral health. Water flossers are an excellent alternative for those who struggle with traditional flossing or require additional cleaning around dental appliances. Picks can serve as a quick solution or a convenient option for cleaning throughout the day.

You should be gentle with floss and while it isn’t uncommon to bleed, you should definitely pair flossing with visits to the dentist regularly. Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for a healthy smile. Traditional flossing, water flossers, and picks all have their unique advantages and applications. It’s important to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist to determine the best method for your needs. Remember, no matter which method you choose, consistency and thoroughness are key to achieving optimal oral health.

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