Dr. Pearl E. Whites
What can I do to NEVER floss again??
Updated: Aug 18, 2022
Even though I'm a dentist, I'm like the ninety and nine at the end of the day where the last thing I feel like doing before going to sleep is suffocating my two fingers to meticulously floss between each tooth and remove maybe one or two pieces of chicken I couldn't feel between some random teeth and thinking, "If only I were vegetarian I wouldn't get chicken stuck between these teeth and then I wouldn't have to floss."--so many problems with that sentence.
I still dream that there's gotta be a way to get out of flossing.
Think of it this way, if you have ever had a sliver, what's your go-to method of removing it? You could soak your finger with water, vinegar or epsom salt; flush it out; or place a banana over it (no kidding! Had to look that up:) The best logical solution is with the mechanical force of tweezers, period. Same with flossing. Nothing can replace the effective mechanical force of removing food between teeth better than flossing. There are many adjuncts that claim to replace the cumbersome flossing method: toothpicks, proxabrushes, and water flossers. Those are all great, but like the tweezers most effective at removing splinters, at this point in the 21 century with all the advances that technology has offered, these alternatives should only be used as additives and not replacement options of flossing.
Water flossers (AKA waterpik) are amazing! I was the biggest non-believer until using them. Even though I floss more teeth in a day than some people do all year, I'll painstakingly brush, floss, and put the waterflosser to the test and still get debris out from between my teeth. This shows brushing and flossing may not be enough. However, the same is true after brushing and using a water flosser. Afterwards I'll go in with floss and still get food out. Case in point: use floss AND a waterpik.
Toothpicks and Proxabrushes
You have to be careful with these. We see more damaged gums from chronic users. Toothpicks causes flattened gums and more wide open areas for food to get stuck thus creating a never-healing cycle of more food getting stuck. I'd avoid them in general unless you're trying to look cool after eating at a restaurant.
What if I have Braces or Bridges?
These adjuncts are where we highly recommend proxabrushes, floss threaders, superfloss,and/or waterpiks especially since it's next to impossible to effectively brush with those dental obstacles in your mouth. Platypus flossers for braces are a game changer too allowing you to floss a braceface in seconds instead of hours with regular floss.
What floss is best?
C-shape or regular floss? Glide vs waxed? The right question to ask is should I floss or not. In short, research shows it doesn't matter which floss you use...just do it.
Don't use toothpicks. If you especially have braces or bridges use platypus, proxabrushes, waterpiks, or super floss since regular floss will be less effective. Use a waterpik AND floss. Yes, you can get out of flossing your teeth every day--it is a free country; now, should you avoid flossing every day? No, even with the adjuncts out there.
Remember, you only have to floss the teeth you want to keep.