August 2012 Professional Oral Care Newsletter

I confess, I used the subject line 50 Shades of Floss just to get your attention. The book of a similar name has captivated the imagination of many. Yet on a daily basis, flossing or more aptly the lack thereof, is the attention grabber. Yes, flossing can be effective, but most people don't like to do it, and in many cases, even those that do are not able to use it at a high enough level to secure a health benefit. For those individuals, it may be time to close the book and set floss free. Join me!

Carol A. Jahn, RDH, MS, Editor

Senior Professional Relations Manager
Water Pik, Inc

Do Your Patients Have a Secret Obsession?

It probably isn't flossing. You may often wonder what your patients are really doing with all that floss you've given them over the years. Maybe they use it to hang Christmas ornaments, sew on coat buttons, or tie up the turkey? It's obvious they are not using it to clean between their teeth. And the excuses....if it doesn't hurt their gums then it's the pain from being too tightly wrapped around their fingers.

In school, most of us were taught 'flossing' as the primary method and assumed this was the superior routine. The evidence tells a different story. A 2008 systematic review on the benefits of flossing in addition to tooth brushing found for many people flossing did not enhance plaque removal or gingivitis reduction.1 As dental professionals with great manual dexterity, flossing is easy. For others, it's not. How many of your patients tell you they are using floss and you wonder for what since it clearly doesn't appear it's to clean between their teeth.

Perhaps it's time to give them something they can be passionate about that doesn't have to be a secret!

It's time to set floss free. Partner with your patient and find out what appeals to them. There are numerous choices from interproximal brushes to floss holders. Or you can be really bold and recommend a Waterpik® Water Flosser. The Water Flosser is one of the few products on the market that has been directly compared to string floss, and found more effective in reducing bleeding and gingivitis and as effective at removing plaque.2,3 The Water Flosser is easy to use, and provides 'whole mouth cleansing' something floss or other interdental products cannot do.

  1. Berchier CE et al. Int J Dent Hyg, 2008; 6:265-79. Click here for abstract
  2. Rosema NAM et al. J Int Acad Peridontol, 2011; 13:2-10 Click here for abstract
  3. Barnes CM et al. J Clin Dent, 2005; 16:71-77. Click here for abstract

50 Shades of Water Flosser

If you are new to recommending the Waterpik® Water Flosser, here are the answers to some common questions that you might have.

Don't my patients need to use floss to prevent caries?

Not necessarily. If they aren't currently using floss and have no decay, then switching to a Water Flosser will not increase the risk. For your patients that are at higher risk for decay, the evidence is weak regarding flossing as a preventive measure for interproximal decay. Click to read abstract

Does the Water Flosser remove plaque?

A study conducted at the University of Southern California Center for Biofilms found that the hydraulic forces produced by the Water Flosser with 1,200 pulsations per minute on medium pressure (70 psi) for three seconds can remove 99.9% of plaque biofilm from treated areas. Click here for abstract

How do I instruct my patient to use a Water Flosser?

One of the best ways to give good recommendation is to try the product yourself. First time users should start on low and use warm or room temperature water. Two of the most common mistakes people make are to turn the unit on before the tip is in their mouth and looking in the mirror while using it. Click here for patient instructions.

Where can I find the research that compares the Water Flosser to dental floss?

Abstracts of all the studies comparing the Water Flosser to floss can be found on the research section of our website. Another great resource that reviews all the research on the Water Flosser going back to the 1960's is our self-study course. Click here for abstracts or Download Water Flosser self-study

Follow My Blog

As I travel around the country giving continuing education courses and working at tradeshows, I've met and become friends with so many of you. That's why I wanted all of you to be the first to know that I'm launching a blog - called My FLOSS-ophy. In it, I'll keep you updated on what's all the information and research relative to the courses I give and of course all that's happening at Water Pik. Click here to access my blog