Perhaps the one thing everybody without exception can agree on is that flossing isn’t exactly an exciting experience. Some loathe the process more than others, but you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find anyone who could honestly tell you that they genuinely enjoy flossing.
Regardless of whether using traditional dental floss, the most advanced water flosser on the market or any of those weird and wonderful plastic bits and pieces, it still represents the same daily chore. Nevertheless, it always has been and always will be important for maintaining a healthy mouth.
Not that most people seem to acknowledge the fact – given the way in which evidence suggests that the vast majority of people either do not floss properly or don’t floss at all!
Still, dentists always have and always will continue to remind the world of the importance of flossing. But with so many different approaches to choose from, which represents the best option for the average person? Or should that be, what are the very best tools for the job?
These days, head to the dental hygiene section of any supermarket or pharmacy and you’re likely to see just as many different types of dental floss as toothpastes or toothbrushes. Quite simply, there are hundreds of different products available. Some on the market for pennies, others significantly more expensive – some relatively basic, others claiming to be incredibly advanced.
As is typically the case with such things, each and every manufacturer will of course stake claim to producing the very best floss money can buy. But as it’s impossible for all types of floss to be exactly the same in terms of performance, which is best?
Well, while there may be hundreds of products available, each and every example can essentially be split into one of three categories – traditional dental floss, floss pick and electronic water flossers. The question as to which represents the best avenue to explore being one that still needs to be answered for quite a lot of people.
First up, traditional dental floss has been around for donkey’s years and has the potential to be incredibly effective. Tried, tested and trusted by dental professionals all over the world, traditional dental floss has the ability to effectively get rid of bacteria, food particles and plaque from areas of the mouth that would otherwise be missed. But as for whether traditional dental floss represents the best choice…well, it’s a case of yes and no at the same time.
When traditional dental floss is used correctly, the fact that it can be wrapped around the teeth for 360-degree cleaning is of course a good thing. What’s more, the beauty of traditional floss is the way in which a fresh strip/length can be used for each between-tooth application, ensuring that the entire mouth is treated to a clean and capable strip of floss. This means that when you use a high quality traditional floss product correctly, it can be exceptionally effective.
On the downside, actually putting traditional floss to use effectively across the whole mouth can be very difficult. For the best of us, reaching the very back of the mouth with traditional dental floss can be borderline impossible. For those who may have any kinds of problems with their fingers or hands, the whole thing becomes inaccessible it difficult. So in terms of the benefits of traditional dental floss, it all comes down to the ability (and willingness) of the individual to make it work as it should.
As for floss picks, these are the small plastic devices that come in an extensive range of shapes and sizes – each featuring a small strip of dental floss between two ends of an F or Y shape. They also usually feature some kind of toothpick on the other end for the removal of larger bits of debris from between the teeth.
The immediate advantage of this approach to flossing being that it becomes so much easier to get the floss right to the back of the mouth, without having to shove your fingers halfway down your throat. For the vast majority of people therefore, it represents a far more convenient and comfortable option than traditional dental floss. And of course, the toothpick is also something of an added bonus.
On the downside, it typically isn’t practical to use a completely separate pick each time you move on to a new tooth. In addition, the fact that the strip of floss is so small means that it cannot be curved around the tooth to the same extent as traditional dental floss. This means that along with not always getting the job done quite as effectively, picks have a tendency to be more expensive long-term.
Right at the top end of the market come the electronic devices that take an entirely different approach to flossing in general. Rather than using a strip of material as is usually the case, water flossers instead use a powerful and carefully targeted jet of water and air to get the job done. The process working by effectively ‘blasting’ the debris and plaque out from between the teeth.
In terms of benefits, clinical tests would seem to suggest that there is no approach to flossing that can get the job done more effectively than with a high quality electronic device. In addition, water flossers have the potential to reduce the time it takes to floss the entire mouth down to around 30 seconds. Such devices are also comprehensively easy to use and make it as simple as possible to reach every corner of the mouth.
On the downside, the very best devices can be somewhat expensive to purchase in the first place or may not be suitable for those who aren’t exactly enamoured with the latest technology. What’s more, they aren’t always convenient to carry around while out and about, plus are rendered entirely useless when in need of a charge or new batteries.
Once again therefore, a tale of pros and cons which for the most part brings it back to personal preference!