Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Philips AirFloss Looks to be a Winner

 

AirFloss.jpg
I've been tinkering with the Philips AirFloss unit for a while now.  If you are unfamiliar with the device, it is a rechargeable device designed to aid in interdental cleaning.  it has a small resorvoir that can be filled with water, mouthwash, or even a prescription medication such as chlorhexidine.
The unit has a slim delivery arm and a tiny tip that is placed into the area between the teeth.  There is an activation button that, when pushed, delivers a burst of air and the liquid from the reservoir into the area between the teeth (where the tip has been placed).  This burst of air & liquid goes between the teeth and helps remove any debris that might be there.
Here's what I've learned in my time with AifFloss:
AirFloss is easy to use. Simply place the tip between the teeth and just above the gum, push the button, repeat one tooth over.  It really is that simple.  Philips says perhaps one minute to cover the whole mouth and I believe that.  It is very easy to use.
AirFloss does remove debris. The studies that I have seen compare the use of the device as an adjunct to manual or powered brushing.  Those studies show greater cleaning when AirFloss is used no matter what type of brush is used.  There is also a study that compares ease of use versus an irrigator or floss.  AirFloss was found to be easier to use than either product.  I have not yet seen a study comparing AirFloss to traditional floss.  However, I can tell you from personal anecdotal experience that the device does help remove debris between the teeth.
My rather unscientific study was to floss and brush using a SoniCare toothbrush.  Then I would go back and use the AirFloss as a third type of cleaner.  What I discovered was that debris really did show up as I expectorated into the sink even though I had just brushed and flossed.  Philips does not say that the device is a replacement for flossing and I don't feel that way either, but it does appear to do a nice job in keeping the interdental area clean.
AirFloss ir preferred over flossing from a dexterity point of view. As a dentist, I can easily floss the teeth of another human being, however getting my hands into my own mouth can be problematic.  Because of that, for years I've flossed with a Butler Flossmate. This isn't because I'm lazy, it's because I can't get my hands in my own mouth.  I know I'm not the only person with that problem.  I also am well aware of the fact that lots of people won't floss simply because they feel they are too busy or that it is too hard to do.  There are also folks who just don't have the dexterity for flossing.  Also in a nursing home situation, I can see the AirFloss being much easier to use than manual flossing of every patient's teeth every day.
My feeling on all of the above situations as that I'd much rather have these people on a regimen of a powered toothbrush and AifFloss instead of a manual toothbrush and no interdental cleaning.  This is the place where I feel products like AirFloss really shine.
Conclusions: AirFloss works as the company says.  In my hands I felt that it did help remove debris that was left even after brushing and flossing.  I think it is a device that can be used by both individuals who want to do their best home care as well people who either don't want to or can't floss properly.  I'm recommending it here and think that other dental professionals should also give it a try.  I went into this test skeptical, but came out with a positive feeling about the device.  AirFloss is recommended!

 

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