According to the Waterpik company traditional flossing is not necessary and you can just use a “Waterflosser”.   Well I do believe that if you evaluate the effectiveness of most people’s  traditional flossing using their fingers to hold the floss, you will find it not effective especially in the back of the mouth.  However a person who uses and is properly instructed in using a specific floss holder and floss combination can be very very effective and efficient. As a Bacteriologist, a Periodontist, and a Preventive Dentist the idea that this device eliminates the need for flossing is a terrible joke on the health of the general public.  A WATERFLOSSER/WATERPIK has an important place in oral hygiene and in preventing dental disease, but when Waterpik says that this device is a substitute for flossing then they might as well also say if you use a WATERFLOSSER/WATERPIK you also do not have to BRUSH your teeth!!  Of course if they said that people would laugh at them. The only purpose of cleaning your teeth is to remove the bacterial dental plaque which adheres to the surface of the tooth and which is responsible for Dental Decay and Periodontal/Gum disease.  What Waterpik has show with their research is that the Waterflosser/Waterpik helps REDUCE plaque and reduce inflammation, BUT they never showed any research comparing the Waterflosser/Waterpik to the combination of “proper”  Brushing, flossing, and “Waterflossing”.  If that was done I am certain it would show the same results we have gotten.  The research we have done comparing hundreds of patients who brushed, flossed, and  used a Waterflosser/Waterpik compared to some who only used a Waterflosser/Waterpik or compared to some who brushed and used a Waterflosser/Waterpik showed a dramatically better result when all three were used together.   And the secret is also not WHAT you use, but HOW you use it.   In our office the BEST RESULTS have been accomplished by using one specific Electric Toothbrush along with one specific Floss Holder and one specific type of Floss, along with one specific model of the Waterflosser by Waterpik.   We also have found that a Specially trained Dental Hygienist acting as an Instructor and Coach can  improve the patients results dramatically.   In many cases patients who had a history of continuous dental problems and who’s home care could be demonstrated to be ineffective when judged using a Phase Microscope were improved so that they not only demonstrated 100% effective elimination of the disease causing dental plaque from their teeth, but in addition had no new dental disease year after year since they changed what they were doing.

This article submitted by Dr. A. Vandiveer Strait, DDS, FAGD Wilton, CT