what is water flossing - savina dental clinics malta and gozo

Flossing is a dentist-recommended dental hygiene practice that helps many to take care of their teeth. Unfortunately, regular thread flossing can be uncomfortable or even painful to some people. It is also not ideal if you are grappling with inflamed or bleeding gums. This is where water flossing comes in handy.

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What is a water flosser?

A water flosser is a water irrigator device that helps remove food particles stuck in between your teeth. This gadget relies on water pressure. It requires you to aim the water jet in between the teeth that you intend to clean.

Dental experts refer to these irrigators as water jets, water flossers, or waterpiks. When used well, water flossers can help to prevent gingivitis.

Why dentists recommend water flossing

According to dental experts, brushing your teeth does not remove all the food particles that stick between your teeth. That is why they recommend both brushing your teeth and flossing as dental hygiene practices.

While traditional flossing does not augur well with everyone as it can be seen as a tedious or painful procedure, dental experts recommend water flossing – more so, for those who use dental braces, or those who have freshly undergone a particular dental procedure.

Water flossing is an equally effective alternative to traditional flossing. It helps not only to remove the food particles between your teeth, but also the sticky food below your gum line.

Types of water flossers

Faucet flosser

A faucet water flosser is probably the most common.  It looks more like a shower flosser. The only difference is that it has a cord that attaches it directly to the water basin. Also, it limits the movement of the user. You need to use it while standing near a faucet.


A countertop flosser is somewhat bulky. To use this flosser, you need to place it on a countertop and plug it into the nearest socket. This device comes with a small tank, that you need to keep refilling when the water runs out.

Shower flosser

A shower flosser is a unique water irrigator that attaches to the showerhead. It allows you to floss your teeth before or after you take a shower.

The shower flosser is quite rigid. It does not require a power source, but it limits your movement as you have to stand on one spot when using it.

Cordless or battery-operated

The cordless or battery-operated water flosser is a portable device. You don’t need to plug it into any power source to use it as it is battery-powered.

Although it might not be as powerful compared to other types of flossers, it is ideal for travelling because it is light, portable, and occupies less space and is in fact the one most commonly used.

When to use a water flosser

You have braces

when your child may need braces

It is easier to use a water flosser when you have braces. It is the safest and most effective flossing option for people with braces.

With this device, you can access those hard-to-reach areas without any qualms. This is impossible with traditional flossing. The advantage of using a waterpik for people with braces is removing food particles that stick in between the wires and brackets. The water pressure from this device massages your gums and leaves them feeling fresh and relaxed.

You have crowns

Dental crowns are delicate. Dental experts advise individuals with crowns to practice caution when brushing or flossing their teeth.

Traditional flossing may destabilize your crowns, especially if you have not had them for long. Therefore, it is best to use a flosser to remove the food particles between your teeth while protecting your crowns.

You have a dry mouth

It is the role of saliva to clean your mouth and keep plaque buildup at bay. However, some people don’t produce enough saliva due to genetic conditions and other reasons. If you are one of these people, water flossing will be of more benefit than traditional flossing. The water flossing process will keep your mouth moisturized and get rid of plaque.

Food always gets stuck in between your teeth

The shape or arrangement of your teeth may make them trap food particles. If this is your current predicament, then water flossing is for you. A waterpik can aid in removing the hidden and stuck food particles in your teeth and leave your mouth feeling fresh.

You have non-removable bridgework

Non-removable dental bridgework can trap food particles. Failure to remove this food from your teeth can lead to plaque build-up.  In such circumstances, a water flosser will do an excellent job. The water pressure will get into the hard-to-reach areas and push out the trapped food.

Pros of water flossing

Water picking is much safer for people with dental bridges, bleeding gums, or any other oral condition that you need to handle with care. It allows the users to clean their teeth without aggravating their gums or destabilizing the dental work. For those with braces, water picking massages their gums and improves blood circulation in their gums.

Cons of water flossing

Water picking is not as effective as traditional flossing. Besides that, water flossers are quite expensive. In most cases, you will need to plug these devices into a power source. While travelling, this can be quite an inconvenience.

Is water flossing as good as dental floss?

According to the American Dental Association, waterpiks with ADA approval marks can aid in removing plaque from your teeth. When it comes to removing plaque from your teeth, other studies argue that water flossing is not as effective as traditional flossing.

As such, you should not write off the regular floss for water flossing. Nonetheless, if your gums are bleeding or inflamed, water flossing will come in handy without aggravating the situation further. However, for the majority of people, traditional flossing is only uncomfortable during the first few days. After that, it becomes part of their routine.

The bottom line is that water flossing is not beneficial to everyone. However, we cannot disregard it for those who can’t use traditional floss. Regardless of the type of flossing you prefer, it is important to brush your teeth twice a day. Also, remember that flossing is important for your dental health, but it should not replace brushing your teeth.

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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at its disposal.

Joseph Xuereb
Principal Dental Surgeon & Owner of Savina Dental Clinics, Dr Joseph Xuereb BChD (Hons), MFGDP(UK), MGDS RCS(Eng), FFGDP RCS(UK), FICD is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in Implant and Restorative Dentistry. Dr Joseph & the teams' full biographical information can be found here.