Brushing with a toothbrush and string flossing has been a staple of good oral hygiene forever. And both are still important today. It’s how patients go about doing them these days that is stealing the spotlight. At Forest & Ray, we want to congratulate you brushers and flossers out there while, at the same time, alerting you to ways of more effectively getting the job done.
Nowadays, appliances are available which allow the power of electricity to improve our oral hygiene. The electric toothbrush and water flossing appliances are on the market which can dramatically help you maintain good, healthy teeth and gums. To better illustrate the point, let’s look at an interesting statistic which compares the simple, manual toothbrush with a new and better alternative.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry compared the efficacy of a water flosser to string floss used in combination with a manual toothbrush. The researchers found that the group who used the waterpik had a 74.4 percent reduction in plaque as compared to a 57.7 percent reduction in the group who used the string floss. While no such studies exist for the electric toothbrush, it is reasonable to assume that the brisk brushing action of the electric toothbrush is much better than brushing your teeth manually.
So, it is apparent that electric water flossing and the electric toothbrush represent improvements. But which is better and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
Pros: Water picking has many advantages. A waterpik is easy to use, especially for people with braces, or other types of dental work like permanent or temporary bridges. The massage action can also improve gum health and reach areas that can’t be reached with traditional floss.
Cons: There are many disadvantages to using a water flosser as well. A waterpik can be expensive to purchase, and will need space for storage. It requires access to electricity and water and can be bulky making it difficult to use outside of the home.
Pros: Electric toothbrushes oscillate many times per second, far faster than we could attempt with a manual brush. The degree of movement and the varying angles of attack an electric brush allows patients to get their mouth as clean as possible. This helps reduce cavity risk, is very effective at getting rid of plaque and helps prevent gingivitis (gum disease).
Also, it’s almost effortless–The brush does all the work for you; some have a timer for the full two minutes; others tell you when to move to another section of your mouth. Some have pressure indicators to stop you from brushing too hard.
Cons: There aren’t many. It used to be, before rechargeable batteries, that there had to be an electric outlet nearby. No more. And, in the past, electric models were expensive. Sure, some fancy gizmo could set you back Ł300 or more. But you can pick up a very effective appliance for nearer to Ł30.
One thing is for certain: whichever you choose, it will be an improvement over the old methods of manual brushing and string flossing. If money is an issue—don’t despair. While you are making your decision to enter the 21st century, we at Forest & Ray recommend that you keep brushing twice a day and flossing at least once- that’s still a good recipe for good dental health.