For quite some time now, dentists have been lamenting the fact that far too many of their patients simply neglect regular flossing. Of course, there is reason for concern when you consider the important role that daily flossing can play in the prevention of tooth decay. Patients who fail to floss regularly typically blame factors such as a lack of time, pain or discomfort during the process, or just a lack of understanding about how the process is supposed to work.
Thanks to innovators in Sweden, however, that old dental floss has a new competitor that might get patients excited about flossing again. It’s called the interdental brush, and it’s growing in popularity with each passing day. Many European dentists already recommend them for their patients, and even some experts suggest that they may be superior to traditional floss. So, which is actually better for your flossing needs: dental floss or the interdental brush?
If you haven’t heard of these interdental brushes, you’re not alone. They have been around for some time now, but are only just gaining notoriety outside of Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. Basically, they are small, plastic-handled devices with wire bristles at the tip that are designed to clean plaque from between your teeth. The wire is coated with plastic, of course, to provide a greater measure of safety and prevent tooth damage.
Users who prefer them to traditional floss cite the ease with which they can be used, the fact that they can be reused, and the increased access they provide to those hard-to-reach back teeth. There is also research-supported evidence that suggests that the interdental brushing approach may provide greater protection against the gum inflammation known as gingivitis.
At the same time, there are some potential drawbacks. As you might expect, the interdental brushes are more expensive than that cheap floss. In addition, the fact that a wire is being inserted between the teeth does increase the risk that the user might injure the gums. Used improperly, patients can experience some pain, irritation, and bleeding.
Traditional floss poses no risk to the dental papilla, and lacks hygienic concerns since it is disposable. Moreover, there is ample evidence to support its effectiveness in properly inhibiting dental plaque. And where cost is at issue, there is no real comparison to be made; dental floss is easily more affordable.
Still, even fans of dental floss acknowledge that interdental brushes can provide invaluable benefits, especially if they encourage more people to commit to daily tooth hygiene. Moreover, these brushes do offer a simpler and more effective solution for many patients with implants, braces, and other orthodontic devices.
The debate over the choice between traditional dental floss and the use of interdental brushes will no doubt continue into the future, but one fact is clear: patients need to floss regularly. At Ebenezer Dental, we work to ensure that our patients recognize that flossing is vital if they want to maintain healthy and attractive teeth. To find out more about how the best dentist in midtown Manhattan can help you enjoy the benefits of professional care and effective dental hygiene, give us a call today.