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Can I just use a Waterpik instead of actually flossing?


Can I just use a Waterpik instead of actually flossing?

“Floss… floss… floss…”

This is something we typically hear from our dentist or dental hygienist, but we may choose not to do regularly because it takes up too much time, its difficult, or we just simply don’t like it because it makes our gums bleed. Whatever our reasoning is behind refraining from flossing, it keeps us from doing it. So, is it safe to just use a Waterpik or water flosser instead of actually flossing?


Flossing uses a thin piece of string that is worked in-between the teeth. It is intended to remove plaque and food particles on the teeth and gums that can negatively affect the teeth by causing decay or gum disease.

Pros of Flossing:

  • It is efficient
  • It is successful at removing plaque and food particles
  • It is affordable and available at grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.

Cons of Flossing:

  • It may not reach deep pockets caused by periodontal disease
  • It can be difficult reach the back teeth (molars) in the mouth
  • It can be difficult for some individuals to utilize and work through the teeth properly
  • Some individuals may bleed if they do not floss regularly*

*Increasing your floss routine can reduce bleeding of the gums. Like sore muscles after working out, the more you work out, the less sore you feel. Flossing works the same way! Our neighboring Garner, NC family dental friends at Moore Family Dentistry is very big on the Waterpik. We too think you should check it out. 

Waterpiks or Water Flossers

A Waterpik or water flosser involves using a special machine that streams water into the mouth and gums. If you could imagine the Waterpik or water flosser as a “pressure washer” for you mouth, it is very similar. It works by effectively massages the gums and pushes food away from the teeth.

Pros of Waterpiks or Water Flossers:

  • It is easy to use and maneuver in the mouth
  • It is compatible with dental work like implants, bridges or crowns
  • It is capable of reaching deep pockets in the gums caused by periodontal disease that floss cannot reach

Cons of Waterpiks or Water Flossers:

  • It is more on the pricier side as opposed to regular floss
  • You must have access to electricity
  • It is bulkier than regular floss, so traveling with a Waterpik or water flosser may be limited

Comparing the Two

While both methods of flossing are safe and effective, it would be best practice to continue to use regular dental floss as your primary method of flossing. If you would like to incorporate a Waterpik or water flosser into your routine, you can also do this while continuing to use regular dental floss.


If you have further questions about flossing and best practices, we encourage you to contact Wells Family Dental Group so that we may answer any questions or concerns that you may have!In addition to flossing, regular dental visits are important, contact us if you are due for a dental visit or are in the market looking for a dental home.


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