Amy Z. Lee, DMD, MSD, PhD, PC
There really is no alternative to flossing, although some people have tried water picks. While water picks may be effective for people with orthodontic braces, they do not remove plaque. Dentists sometime recommend water picks for people with gum disease because flossing is simply too painful. Other alternatives include solutions containing antibacterial agents such as chlorhexidine or tetracycline, which are available by prescription.