You may have heard the term water flosser before. Perhaps your dental hygienist has recommended one. Water flossers have become quite popular over the past few years, and with great reason. The benefits of adding a water flosser to your oral hygiene routine may surprise you. Is a water flosser right for you?
Using a water flosser is easier and more effective than traditional floss.
A water flosser is safe to use around all dental restorations.
A water flosser reduces the risk of cavities.
A water flosser helps prevent and control gum disease (periodontal disease).
A water flosser is a great addition to any oral health routine.
What is a water flosser?
A water flosser is a small appliance with a specially designed tip that sprays water into the spaces between your teeth. This helps remove food particles, plaque, and bacteria that may be stuck to your teeth and hiding below your gums. The water flosser does not replace proper brushing. However, tooth brushing alone cleans about 60% of the tooth surfaces in your mouth adequately. A water flosser can help reach the remaining 40%.
How to use a water flosser
Whether you recently purchased a water flosser or are still researching the idea, using a water flosser can seem confusing. These steps will help ease the process:
- Fill the water reservoir with warm water to avoid any cold sensitivity.
Start at the lowest pressure setting and move up as you feel comfortable. The correct pressure setting is about your personal preference only.
- Position the tip from the cheek side. Place the tip at the triangular area where the gum tissue and tooth meet. Gently rest the tip at the gumline.
- Close your lips around the tip before turning the water flosser on. Otherwise, you will have a watery mess to clean up.
- Angle the tip slightly down at a 45° angle to allow the water to flow under the gums.
- Concentrate on each space for 5 seconds, rocking the tip back and forth. This directs the water flow around the curve of the tooth.
- Slowly move the tip along the gumline to the next space and pause again.
Repeat this process until you have cleaned all the spaces between and around each tooth. Rocking the tip back and forth from the cheek side will clean the tongue side as well.
Types of tips and brushes
There are several types of tips and brush accessories. These are interchangeable and can enhance your oral hygiene in different ways.
The jet tip
This is the most common and most beneficial tip. I refer to this one as the pressure-washer tip. This tip produces a small, focused stream of water to clean deep below the gum line. This tip should be changed every 6 months.
This tip is designed for cleaning around orthodontic brackets and wires. The orthodontic tip is larger than the jet tip. It has a tapered brush at the end. This tip should be replaced every 3 months.
This tip is commonly used around dental restorations like crowns, bridges, and implants. It has 3 small tufts of bristles at the end with a small hole for water to be focused. This tip should be changed every 3 months.
Periodontal pocket tip
This tip should only be used on the lowest pressure setting possible. It has a small rubber stopper on the end that can be inserted below the edge of the gumline. This focuses the water stream directly into the periodontal pocket. This tip should be changed every 3 months.
This tip is like a traditional toothbrush. It is not an electric toothbrush. It allows you to brush your teeth but adds a stream of water to help rinse plaque and bacteria away. This tip should be replaced every 3 months.
Benefits of using a water flosser
Using a water flosser can help prevent and control Periodontal diseases. Bacteria hiding between the teeth or below the gum line leads to cavities and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria damage the bone and other tissues surrounding the teeth. When this bone loss happens, brushing and flossing cannot reach where this bacteria hides. The water flosser flows water into the periodontal pocket, loosens the bacteria, and rinses it away.
The water flosser is safe to use around all dental restorations, including crowns, bridges, and dental implants. Bacteria sitting around restorations may cause them to fail. Using a water flosser will gently remove debris hiding along the edges of restorations, saving you from costly repairs.
The water flosser is also ideal for use with braces. The brackets and wires make it easy for plaque to hide. Flossing your teeth with these added obstacles is difficult, which leads many people to skip them. A water flosser can help remove harmful plaque and bacteria, keeping your teeth healthier.
The water flosser can be very beneficial for someone with physical limitations. String floss may not be an option for those who have limited use of their hands or fingers. A water flosser is easier to adapt and allows you to clean between the teeth without using your fingers and floss. Different types of water flossers are available that will fit each person’s needs.
Studies prove using a water flosser removes 29% more plaque and bacteria than traditional string floss. While a water flosser does not replace brushing, it can be a great substitute for traditional string floss. Teeth do not have a completely flat surface like a wall. Therefore, string floss doesn’t adapt to the entire surface of the tooth. This leaves harmful bacteria and food debris to cause problems.
A water flosser is not only relatively easy to use, but it also helps reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease. It can completely reverse gingivitis. It helps control periodontal disease and prevent further bone loss. The truth is, your daily oral care routine should have these goals: remove plaque, control bacteria, and prevent dental problems. The water flosser does this and more. Get a water flosser and keep your smile happy!