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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Feb 06, 2010
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    oral irrigators / water flossers: do they work?
    I hate flossing. I just bought (perhaps a little impulsively) a water flosser. Do they work? They're all advertised as floss replacements, but so was mouth wash at one time, and they had to redact that a few months later. I asked my dentist about it this morning, but she gave a rather nebulous, "they're very good at getting rid of plaque"... but that doesn't answer the question of whether they can be used IN LUE of floss. I have a permanent bottom retainer that makes flossing my front bottom teeth impossible. So, how about it, do they work? And while we're on the subject, what about those sonic toothbrushes? Are they worth the money?

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecgeow View Post
    I asked my dentist about it this morning, but she gave a rather nebulous, "they're very good at getting rid of plaque"... but that doesn't answer the question of whether they can be used IN LUE of floss.
    Of course they don't replace actual flossing! Haven't you ever gotten something stuck in your teeth that only floss would get out. I have some teeth that are so tight that I break the floss trying to floss between them (even with very thin floss).

    For a "water jet" based device to eliminate flossing...the water jet would have to be so powerful that it would or could put a hole right thru the skin on the side of your mouth. This device is probably a great addition to a persons oral-care routine...but it's not going to replace flossing.

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  3. #3

    SweetCosmicPope's Avatar
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    And I will say that the sonicare toothbrushes are awesome, IMO.

    I used one for years, then it broke and I replaced it with a regular oral b toothbrush. Several months later, I bought a new sonicare, and when it got done with my mouth, it felt so much cleaner and refreshed. It's one of those things that you don't realize how good it is until it's gone.
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  4. #4

    harryb2448's Avatar
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    And as my dentist says "You do not have to floss all your teeth .. just the ones you want to keep!"
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  5. #5

    Christopher's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 16, 2007
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    Water Picks are a wonderful way to take care of your teeth! In my opinion, they are hugely unsung by dental professionals... when in fact they clear plaque and clear debris most importantly between the tooth and gum that is responsible for a huge amount of tooth decay and gum disease. I've read that the ADA doesn't push them because they're so effective, there would be a lot less work for dental professionals. I can't say if this is true, but I can say they've been hugely helpful for me. I use one twice a day.

    I currently use an inexpensive battery powered Water Pik model, but don't really recommend it, as this one is a replacement, which was for another replacement. If you get one, keep your receipt, and when you have to call them, insist they send another now if it's within a year. Great for travel and smaller on bathroom countertop.

    The best one I've used by far is the ViaJet Pro:

    ViaJet Pro Oral Irrigator

    Mine finally quit after 5 years, but it was a champ. Along with rinsing, brushing and flossing, using a water pick is a great thing to do for yourself. Good luck.
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  6. #6


    Member Since
    Jan 11, 2013
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    Wink That's what I used to think...
    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    Of course they don't replace actual flossing! Haven't you ever gotten something stuck in your teeth that only floss would get out. I have some teeth that are so tight that I break the floss trying to floss between them (even with very thin floss).

    For a "water jet" based device to eliminate flossing...the water jet would have to be so powerful that it would or could put a hole right thru the skin on the side of your mouth. This device is probably a great addition to a persons oral-care routine...but it's not going to replace flossing.

    - Nick
    Well, I just looked this up on my university's web directory of scholarly journals and actually found pretty reliable data on the topic. I scanned 5 journals published after 2005 which all pretty much reported very similar findings. I wanted to find out because I recently spent $60 on one for my 10 year old who got braces a few months ago. Though I personally supervised and even helped him with his flossing 2x's/day, the overwhelming stench that emanated from his mouth was worse than nauseating. You could literally smell him from 4-5 feet away! I asked his doc for suggestions and he insisted we purchase a water flosser. I thought he was nuts. My mom was a dental assistant and I'd flossed for years and only get pro cleanings every 5 years because I spend $80 so they can spend under 10 mins trying in vane to scrape up something, only to tell me I have "amazing" dental hygiene. I'm a germ-a-phobe and almost OCD when it comes to personal hygiene.

    Anyway, I thought EXACTLY as you did, but I was desperately willing to try anything to make my son tolerable to be around. I was all set to see no results and expected that I'd have to stand in a long WalMart line to return the damn thing. Well, to my TOTAL shock, his chronic stench totally disappeared in less than a week! I'm serious. Yep. I bought one for my hubby and me the next week. OMG! Before the first time I used it, I flossed with a TwinLine flosser. Trust me, I know exactly how to floss correctly. Then I used the gizmo. I couldn't believe the crud that was still there! GROSS! I promise you, you won't believe this until you try one yourself. All 4 of us use it with a shot of mouthwash added to the water. My hubby is always kissable now...except after coffee or garlic...no flosser can fix that!

    Anyway, here's what the most recent meta analysis I located had to say. BTW, I'd provide a URL, but scholarly journal access is only available to paid subscribers and students whose school pays the subscription fees to the publishers. Apparently, they compiled research data over a 50 year period, comparing string to water flossers. Important to note that only one brand, the Waterpik, was represented because of its market prevalence and mechanical consistency. This is fine by me, since that's the brand I bought. The conclusion was that this water flosser is roughly 30% less likely to cause bleeding than string floss, 3 times more effective at removing plaque and calculus (I'm assuming that's the stuff dentists scrape during cleanings). And, after viewing samples under a scanning electron microscope, they found it removes 99.9% of microbes and bio-film (I'm assuming that's a fancy word for scum) within the entire mouth, not just teeth. There's a whole lotta info I don't have time to cover, but the stats get even better for the water flosser among individuals who were flossing with string floss incorrectly. In one cited study, the team determined that 90% of those who regularly used string floss were doing it incorrectly and didn't know it! Also, it is not the PSI that causes these devices' effectiveness, they determined it is the hydraulic pulsing mechanism that supposedly makes the difference. The steady-stream faucet attachments were deemed useless.

    Give one a try if you don't believe me. I wouldn't have believed me a month ago either. You have nothing to lose. Just return it. Let us know what you think if you do decide to give it a whirl! Also, it's probably not a good idea to force floss between two teeth that are so tight. My father did that for years with a stubborn gap until he literally chipped his tooth pulling out the floss! Weird.

    Take care. =)

  7. #7

    Skunk Shampoo's Avatar
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    Water flossing is great. A bit messy, but much better than using floss.

  8. #8

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    From my opinion, sting flossing only releases things that are stuck between your teeth tightly, and is not guaranteed to get everything else out that is loose. Water flossing seems to get more stuff out, but can also be harder to get really stuck things out, which is why I use both.
    If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment. Marcus Aurelius

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Sep 10, 2011
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    I brush and floss with those ready made up things..flossettes or whatever. I'm thinking of going this route to be honest Xylitol - Xylitol educational website created as a clearinghouse for information about the benefits of xylitol for both the general public and health professionals

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