This is not a drill. There is now a toothbrush out there that cleans and simultaneously flosses your teeth. While it sounds like something you would see in a movie that is set in the future or on a Kickstarter campaign, Waterpik, the creator of the original Water Flosser, launched the first and only flossing toothbrush. Imagine my enthusiasm — as someone who struggles to floss daily — when I stumbled upon this product.
It sounded too good to be true, so I spoke with Chris Strandburg, D.D.S., a California-based dentist, to make sure this product checked all the boxes, all in the name of healthy teeth.
Q: Why is flossing so important?
The main purpose of flossing, while you can remove food, is mainly to remove bacteria. These bacteria live on our teeth and gums, and if they grow, eventually cause cavities and irritation of the gum tissue. This can be severe if left unchecked for long periods of time. Waterpiks are actually more effective than flossing.
The problem with string floss is that it breaks up the bacteria but doesn’t really do much to flush it out of those deep areas (even if you are doing it perfectly). Unfortunately, when you are talking about those deep spaces below the gumline, every millimeter makes a huge difference. When using the Waterpik Sonic-Fusion, the high-pressured water forces itself into all the nooks and crannies to break up bacteria and irrigate it out from between the teeth and below the gum line. It really gets you to a next level of clean.
Q: Is it possible to not create the next big flood when using this product?
Just place the brush head on your teeth and create a water seal with your lips. Press the floss button and [as a novice] just try to do four teeth at a time. Glide the toothbrush across your teeth with the floss button on and then turn it off. Then spit that little bit of water out, place it back in your mouth, create a seal, and turn it on. It sounds like a lot of steps, but it takes you a minute and a half at most.
Q: What if my gums bleed?
Bleeding gums are a sign of needing to floss the most. In patients with gingivitis or periodontitis, this brush may be the most important tool they can use. String floss can only get down to a maximum of two to three millimeters. This product has been tested and it can go down four to five millimeters and can flush out those deep pockets. You may bleed initially, but people will notice that the bleeding diminishes over time as the gums get healthier.
Q: If someone struggles with bad breath can flossing daily help?
Yes, definitely. Here are the things that contribute to bad breath: gums, teeth (really big cavities), the back of the tongue and, less frequently, tonsillitis. The Waterpik Sonic-Fusion can take care of three to four of those issues. (Tonsil issues should be seen by a nose or throat doctor.) People who have really bad breath, the one you can smell across the room, usually have periodontitis. That bacteria that lives below the gum line is the most ill-smelling.
Q: Do you have any dental hacks up your sleeve?
One thing that you can do to make the experience more fun is to fill up the reservoir with warm water [to avoid sensitivity] and put a cap full of mouthwash in there.
Q: You were once a contestant on “The Bachelor!” Who from Bachelor Nation has the best smile?
Without going into potential confidentiality issues, one guy who has a pretty amazing smile is Dean [Unglert]. I know he’s rocking a mustache in Paradise this year, but that’s not my fault. Underrated smile I would say is Wells [Adams]. He’s got a really good smile.