There is no better time in the sport’s world than during college basketball’s March Madness. There are number one seeds, dting omination, cinderella teams, upsets, buzzer beaters and sheer excitement and drama until the national champion is crowned.  We compare teams and statistics when we fill out our tournament brackets. Similarly, when choosing different dental product we have to look at the pros and cons of each item and try to make some kind of rational and educated choice.  Today let’s look at floss vs. Waterpik and see if we can determine a winner.

We all know how important a beautiful healthy smile is, but what lurks in between or “interproximal” to our teeth has a major impact on our overall dental health.  Poor oral hygiene can result in cavities, gum disease and tooth loss.  It can also impact our overall health.  It is a given that proper brushing is fundamental to good dental hygiene.  It is, however, the removal of food particles, bacteria and plaque from in between our teeth that is most beneficial to a healthy mouth.  The American Dental Association recommends flossing as the best way to accomplish this. But what about Waterpik?  

Waterpik is an oral irrigator that uses a pressurized stream of water to dislodge and clean food, bacteria and plaque from in between our teeth.  It is a great device for people with braces, fixed dental work such as crowns, bridges and/ dental implants.  It is also easier for people that may have difficulty with manual dexterity. Some of the disadvantages are cost, messiness and they may not remove all the interproximal debris.

Flossing, on the other hand, is a tried and true method to remove plaque.  With the proper technique flossing conforms to the tooth surface, disrupts the plaque and gently removes it.  Flossing is inexpensive, easy to control and efficient at removing interproximal plaque.  

I would maintain that the Waterpik is an excellent adjunct to your dental habits.  It is not, however, a replacement for flossing. Flossing when done regularly and correctly offers the best oral hygiene result possible.  So in this week of bracketology, I am putting Floss as the distinct winner.

(As a side note, I have Gonzaga University winning the NCAA national championship game).