In a recent list of the World’s shortest books, Dentist’s Humor made it into the top ten. Right after Things I Can’t afford by Bill Gates and Speechless by Oprah Winfrey. We do have a couple classic jokes we “pull out” for special occasions though? “Doc, do I have to floss all my teeth?” “No. Just the ones you want to keep.” Ba dum bum. As the faux dentist Gru from the movie Despicable Me would say “joking, joking…although zer is some truth to eet.”
What your hygienist/dentist knows is that gum/periodontal disease starts between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. So, some other plan is needed to clean the bacteria from this space, be it floss, tiny brushes or a water flosser. For those who can’t floss, or know they won’t, what are alternative ways of cleaning between the teeth? An effective and easy to use method is a water flosser. There are two reliable brands of water flosser: Hydrofloss, available only through dental offices, and Waterpik. Available at Walmart, and other fine retailers. Of these two, Hydorfloss is the most durable. These devices have traditionally been made as counter top models where you fill a reservoir with water, lean over the sink, and direct the flow of water to clean between your teeth.
Some instructions on proper use:
Correctly directing the flow of water is essential. Start on the outside of the back teeth at the gum line directing the flow of water at 90 degrees to the tooth. Scrub the tip along the gum line to the gap where one tooth meets another. Direct the flow of pulsating water between the teeth for at least 5 seconds so that the water squirts between the teeth coming out the tongue side. Don’t try to direct it up the roots of the tooth as this can result in sore gums. The pulsating water passing between the teeth will lift bacteria and chicken salad sandwich particles out. For people who own the Waterpik brand I recommend additionally using the low-pressure white orthodontic tip to scrub 360 degrees around each tooth at the gum line. For a visual demonstration on how to use a Waterpik check out the link on our website.
If you are one of those people who has good intentions on following these recommendations but tends to forget them about the time you leave your dentists’ office, you may be interested in a new product recently brought to market by the Waterpik people. Introducing the Waterpik Showerpik. Why a shower flosser? For the simple reason it can’t be ignored, like a box of floss neatly placed in a drawer. Every time you step in the shower it is there. Scolding.
The advantages of the shower flosser by Waterpik are: not needing to refill a water reservoir. No worry about splashing the mirror. Easy set up.
Disadvantages: battery that needs to be recharged about once a week. The Shower Flosser may be more difficult to find than the regular Waterpik at local retailers( but Amazon can have it to your door in a few short days). Additionally, for some people there may be a psychological hurdle to cleaning their teeth in the shower.
Fact: most people don't like to floss. Fact: about 50% of adults have periodontal disease, which left untreated will lead to tooth loss. An effective way to avoid flossing is using a Waterpik. Any habit a person can stick with to keep the mouth and gums healthy is welcome. After all, dentists’ know how attached you are to your teeth! Ba dum bum.