Plaque is basically the bane of your mouth’s existence. This sticky film can accumulate on your teeth and lead to issues like cavities and sore, puffy gums. Is a water flosser the best way to prevent grody plaque from building up between your teeth?
Blasting your teeth with an appliance that would fit right in at the dentist’s office seems like a good idea in theory, but you might be wondering if there’s any point in buying a water flosser when you can use regular ol’ string floss.
Just like string floss, a water flosser cleans between your teeth.
Removing little bits of gunk from your teeth is super important. When you allow food and drink particles to stew in your mouth, the resulting plaque releases acids that harm your enamel (the tough external portion of your teeth), according to the American Dental Association (ADA). These acids can eventually drill cavities into your teeth and cause gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease.
Brushing your teeth twice a day helps you scrub away plaque so that it can’t hurt your teeth or gums. So does flossing, which can make sure you reach the little nooks and crannies a toothbrush neglects.
You’re probably pretty familiar with string floss, of course, but water flossers are also an option. A water flosser is a handheld device that shoots a stream of liquid at your teeth hard enough to clean between them. You can call them powered interdental cleaners if you want to be posh about it. Some versions even allow you to use a mixture of water and mouthwash for an extra fresh experience.
A water flosser might be good for you depending on your teeth and preferences.
Using a water flosser is like hosing down a deck while traditional flossing is like sweeping it. They both get the job done, albeit in slightly different ways. Use whichever one makes you less likely to pretend flossing is a concept you’ve never heard of before.
Here are signs a water flosser might be good for you:
You’re not diligent about using the correct flossing technique with string, so you could be leaving a lot of food behind. Shoving the string into each crevice, yanking it out, and moving on doesn’t cut it. You’re supposed to insert the floss, then use a C shape to scrape the string down both teeth, one after the other. You’re also supposed to floss the back sides of your last teeth, FYI. If you’d rather do your taxes than follow these steps, a water flosser might be better for you.
You have dental or orthodontic work that makes it tricky to floss traditionally, like braces or a permanent retainer of some sort.
Your teeth aren’t super straight. If you have trouble running floss back and forth between them, a water flosser could make your life easier.
You hate traditional flossing. Perhaps you’re not a fan of extracting chewed up bits of food from your mouth. Maybe every time you do it, you wonder if you have 357 teeth because getting between them all takes forever.
You don’t need to use string floss and a water flosser every time you clean between your teeth.
If water flossers pique your interest but you’re not sure you need one, let's chat about it at your next appointment. If there’s one area where dentists generally excel (besides, you know, keeping your mouth healthy), it’s brutal honesty. They’ll tell you if you’re doing a good enough job with standard floss, and let you know if a water flosser might be a better fit.
Even if you decide to get a water flosser, don’t throw away your string floss. A water flosser may not do the job if something is really stuck between your teeth. Your future self just called after eating a poppy seed bagel and is really glad you followed this advice.
SELF MagazineWaterpikAmerican Dental Association
A new study suggests a link between gum disease and respiratory failure in COVID-19 patients.
Emerging research has suggested a there’s a connection between gum disease and SARS-CoV-2, according to a new report, “The Mouth COVID Connection (MCC).” The study, which has been accepted for publication for the October 2020 issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association (JCDA), found that hospitalized coronavirus patients with prior underlying gum disease are more likely to suffer respiratory failure.
The MCC study found a link between the bacteria produced by swollen, red, bleeding gums, and bone loss—symptoms of chronic periodontitis—and COVID-19. Researchers found that patients with high levels of IL-6 (interleukin), a harmful protein produced by gum disease, were at significantly greater risk of suffering life-threatening respiratory problems. A similar study in Germany tested COVID-19 patients for the IL-6 protein while they were hospitalized and determined that these patients were in critical condition and needed a ventilator to breathe.
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The study was conducted over a 3-month period by Dr. Shervin Molayem, a dental surgeon based in Los Angeles and founder of the UCLA Dental Research Journal, and Dr. Carla Pontes, a scientist and healthcare researcher in South Africa.
Drs. Molayem and Pontes’ study suggests that patients with bad gums are at risk of generating harmful levels of IL-6 proteins that spread to their lungs. When combined with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it can trigger a life-threatening respiratory crisis.
“Gum disease has been linked to other breathing ailments, including pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), so we weren’t surprised to find a link to respiratory problems with COVID-19,” Dr. Molayem said. “What shocked us was the discovery of the protein’s devastating, life-threatening impact to patients once they’re hospitalized. One tiny, inflammatory protein robbed them of their ability to breathe.”
HIGH TECH SAFETY in the “new normal”: our 3 main components to minimize germs
Dental offices are high traffic spaces: our regular, daily interactions with patients can introduce bacterial, viral, and fungal infections into the air. The indoor air within dental offices contains unhealthy and often infectious airborne pollutants, but we believe technology keeps our patients happier and healthier. Here are three major ways we use cleaning technology to ensure our patients and staff members are as protected as possible:
Microbial air pollution is a real health issue and this is where technology makes us a better, healthier practice. Air purification systems can play a role in significantly reducing transmittable bio-aerosols Dental procedures inadvertently generate aerosols, containing organisms and debris from each patient’s oral activity, and these can be harmful to everyone present in the clinic. Air filters result in the significant reduction of viable particles in the air. World-class medical-grade air purifiers like our Surgically Clean Air system remove chemicals, toxins, germs, and odors, but most importantly, they kill airborne viruses, to help reduce the spread of illness.
By using a six-stage purification system of filters and UV lights, we ensure that the air you breathe is clean, healthy, and odor-free. Stages 1 and 2 remove large and microscopic air contaminates. Stage 3 absorbs unhealthy odors, chemicals, and gases. Stages 4 and 5 kill bacteria and viruses, while stage 6 re-energizes the clean air before circulating it back into the room.
We invested in Surgically Clean Air systems within our office because we believe that paying attention to the quality and purity of the air in our office creates a win/win situation for our patients and team members. Learn more about what Surgically Clean Air is doing for other practices HERE.
“Isolation”, in dental terms, means keeping the procedure area (your mouth) safe and contained. Proper dental isolation is important to dental procedures because it minimizes contamination. This is traditionally done with dental dams and other tools for suction, but we use Isolite systems with our patients. Isolite technology is soft and comfortable, but provides added safety measures during your dental procedure, protecting you foreign body aspiration and shielding the tongue and cheek from injury by the handpiece or other dental instruments.
As an added step in our office safety, we are soon implementing a Viking Technology Cleaning System within the practice. Viking Pure’s patented e-water is a nontoxic solution that has the power to redefine our idea of a clean environment. The chemicals that our society has come to rely on are harmful to our health, our wallet and our planet. They are also ineffective at killing the bacteria, viruses and superbugs that are plaguing our homes and businesses.
Viking Pure Solutions are not only more powerful than chemicals, but our patent-protected systems have revolutionized the very process of generating natural cleaning solutions. Electrolyzed Water is the result of a process called electrolysis: salt is electrically separated into its two main ions, sodium and chloride. Those two ions are then mixed into separate streams of fresh water, producing two solutions: Hypochlorous Acid (PureSan) and Sodium Hydroxide (PureClean). These two solutions are safer, cheaper and most importantly, infinitely more powerful than the harmful chemicals most commonly used as cleaning agents today.
After a very long 2 months, we look forward to bringing our patients back into the office for treatment. Fortunately, many of the new safety precautions recommended to dentists have been in place in our office long before COVID-19. We look forward to seeing you.