Comparing String Floss, Interdental Brushes and Water Flossing

Which flossing method is really best?

When it comes to cleaning in between your teeth, do you use traditional dental floss, an interdental brush, or a water flosser/ water pick?

While each of these “interproximal” (in this case, meaning “between the teeth”) cleaning devices are effective at removing bacteria and particles of food, it doesn’t hurt to explore which of the three might be a better option overall:

Traditional String Floss

The “pros”:
There’s no question that string floss gets the job done and is very safe for the gums when the right technique is used. It’s also ideal for cleaning tight spaces between the teeth. Traditional floss is also very, very inexpensive – so “cost” won’t make a very good excuse if you’ve been neglecting a daily flossing routine!

Aside from string floss, people can also choose to use floss picks if they prefer (a small piece of string attached to a small plastic handle). Many people find this option to be easier to use.

The “cons”:
The only thing that isn’t entirely ideal about dental floss is that it, as mentioned above, requires using a particular technique in order to achieve a proper clean and to avoid hurting the gums. This technique involves using gentle back-and-forth “zig-zag” motions below the gumline and up, grazing each side of each tooth.

Interdental Brushes

The “pros”:
Interdental brushes are also very good at getting the teeth clean when the right technique is used – which is actually very simple! The brush just needs to be slid back and forth between the teeth. Interdental brushes are most ideal for people with larger spaces or gaps between their teeth.

The “cons”:
There is a higher risk of damage to the gums with interdental brush use, as the gums could be poked and punctured by the tip of the brush if not used with caution. That said, the brush also needs to be lubricated or wet before use. Interdental brushes are also a little more costly than dental floss.

Water Flossers

The “pros”:
One unique benefit to water picks is that they’re very pleasant to use, as the pulsation of the water has a gentle massaging effect on the gums. But best of all: they’re highly effective at flushing out bacteria and particles of food, and are capable of targeting bacteria trapped deep inside gum pockets; reducing both plaque and the risk of gingivitis. They’re also particularly convenient for people with braces or certain dental work like bridges.

The “cons”:
The only downsides to water flossers are that they’re more costly than dental floss and interdental brushes, and also requires storage space as well as access to water and electricity.

How do you get “interproximal”?

It’s no doubt that all three of these interproximal cleaning devices are capable of getting the job done well! Which tool do you prefer using when it comes to cleaning in between your teeth?


About Danforth Dental Clinic

We are conveniently located near Greektown on the TTC Danforth Avenue subway line between Greenwood Avenue and Coxwell Avenue.

1411 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4J 1N2