It may not be SEXY, but it’s important

Should you floss?

For decades and decades, dentists and dental hygienists have been repeating the mantra about flossing ad nauseam. For sure, some people took that recommendation to heart and developed a flossing habit. GOOD JOB!

A year or so ago, a large-scale study was released that compared the three main methods of cleaning between your teeth: flossing, interdental brushes/soft pics, and irrigation (i.e. Waterpik or similar devices).

The result: flossing was the least effective way.  Time for the dental profession to adapt!

For most people – as it turns out – flossing is not very effective, and understandably so. The curvatures and crevices found between teeth and on tooth root surfaces are numerous, and flossing (even done by the “best flossers”) can be ineffective.

What’s the best way? Interdental brushes. By going between the teeth with bristles that can navigate the curvatures and crevices, there is much more effective cleaning. From tight spaces to wide spaces, there are brush sizes to fit anyone’s needs. We have found that Soft Pics last the longest and tend to work best. You can find these at most stores, including online stores (such as Amazon, which carries almost everything, so it seems).

What came in second place? Well, it was the other option: irrigation. We have found that simple water irrigation with devices such as a Waterpik (and there are many others)  – when used at a forceful enough stream to remove plaque (that sticky biofilm layer that builds on teeth within an hour after brushing) – is a great adjunct.

You can also try a combination approach, such as a sonic toothbrush which also irrigates at the same time. If you do so, use an interdental brush to loosen up debris and plaque first. These combination brushes/irrigators may cost a little more, but my experience thus far with them has been excellent.

In the year or so we have been “converting” our clients to using interdental brushes, the changes have been remarkable. If you want to be the healthiest you can be, “up” your home care game and use an interdental brush (such as Soft Pics), followed by an electric toothbrush (our favorite: Sonicaire), followed by irrigation (such as a Waterpik). It’s a small investment that can save you big bucks on dental care.

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