Is there any advantage to flossing that I can't get from using a Waterpik?

My answers on Quora

Yes, floss has a couple of benefits different from Waterpik.

I’ve found that it helps to think of dental fitness instead of oral hygiene.

Take aerobics, for example (there’s a reason for picking aerobics if you read on…).

Think of all the exercises you could do for aerobics:

  • HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training, jogging, walking, etc…
  • Jump rope
  • Cycling
  • Treadmill, stairmaster, swimming, etc………

Think also of all the ways you could do resistance training:

  • Weightlifting with barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc…
  • Universal gym pulleys and cables
  • Squats, etc….

Now, I ask you — if you were to join a gym that had only rows and rows of benches for bench-pressing, or only rows and rows of exercycles, would you think that would be a great gym to join?

Now look at your oral hygiene (dental fitness) setup in your bathroom.

What do you have?

  • Toothbrush (most people brush wrong and leave about 60% of plaque behind)
  • Floss (only about 22% of people floss)
  • Mouthwash (basically like pouring money down the drain)

So, most people have a dental fitness setup like the almost worthless gym that has only bench presses or exercycles.

Now extrapolate this to dental fitness.

Wouldn’t you want to have a dental fitness gym that contained all kinds of exercise devices and concepts?

Flossing is kind of like a combination of aerobics and resistance training. If you do it right, it can:

  • help remove stains from between teeth
  • force stuck particles out from between tight teeth
  • force toothpaste into interdental spaces where toothpaste almost never gets
  • toughen up your gums

Waterpik is great for aerobics of the gums because it forces pulsations of water and air bubbles (and hydrogen peroxide if you add it to the water) between teeth.

Gum disease germs and gingivitis germs are anaerobic. Oxygen is poison to them. Therefore, you need to do aerobics for your gums as often as possible to poison those bastard germs.

Personally, I do different dental “exercises” on different days and at different times. I use floss, toothpicks, flosspiks, Waterpik, hydrogen peroxide, xylitol, probiotics, and much more.

As a dentist, I see tons of people who barely even do one thing right for their oral health, and they wonder why their teeth are trashed. Yet, if they have a hobby, they buy tons of stuff and spend thousands of dollars to support that hobby.

In summary, I recommend that everyone stop thinking of teeth as “teeth” and start thinking of them in terms of fitness or hobbies, hair, nails, eyes, — or anything but teeth — and then start devoting a little bit more creativity, energy, and attention to your mouths.

Best regards, Dr. Steve.

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