Along with daily brushing, it is important to clean between your teeth to remove food particles and bacteria that your toothbrush cannot reach. Neglecting these areas as part of your regular oral hygiene regimen, can lead to gum disease
and cavities, which can eventually lead to tooth loss. A Waterpik is a commonly preferred tool that has been clinically proven to remove food particles and bacteria from between the teeth, but it is not without pros and cons.What is a Waterpik?
A Waterpik, also known as a dental water jet, oral irrigator or water flosser, is an instrument that directs a surge of water at the teeth to help wash away food particles. Though the name Waterpik is a registered brand, the term is often used to describe any instrument that jets water into the teeth to clean them.How to Use a Waterpik
The most basic way to use a Waterpik, is to use warm water, and start with the lowest setting. Direct the water at the spaces between your teeth. Begin with the back teeth, and work your way to the front. To begin, lean over the sink to avoid a mess. Hold the tip of the pik in one space for about 3-5 seconds, allowing it to pulse and thoroughly cleanse the area, before slowly moving along the gum line of the tooth and onto the next space. You can switch to a higher setting once your gums get used to the water pressure and you perfect the technique.Pros of Using a Waterpik
- One benefit of using a Waterpik is that the jets of water blast food particles from between the teeth, which makes it a fast and easy way to clean your teeth.
- An oral irrigator is efficient for flushing out bacteria from deep pockets that occur when gums separate from the teeth, therefore; it is often recommended for patients with gum disease. Floss cannot reach these areas.
- People with braces can also benefit from using a Waterpik because the streaming water gets behind the metal wires to help flush out food particles.
- A Waterpik delivers high-pressure water, so it works well for cleaning around implants, crowns and bridges.
- A dental water jet is gentle on the gums, so it is less likely to cause pain and bleeding in individuals with sensitive teeth.
The Waterpik has been clinically proven to provide significant oral health benefits to users, including those with implants, crowns, braces and even diabetes.Cons of Using a Waterpik
- The main drawback of using a Waterpik is the cost, which can be a bit pricey for most people. The cost for a Waterpik, including replacement heads, averages more than normal floss, and it is recommended that you replace the tips every 3-6 months
- When you first learn to use an oral irrigator, water may spray around, which can make it messy to use until you get the hang of it.
- A dental water jet does not clean plaque from the teeth as well as floss. Floss hugs the tooth and scrapes plaque away, which prevents it from causing tooth decay and gingivitis. A Waterpik just rinses it. Therefore, a Waterpik is not a substitute for flossing.
For patients with orthodontics, heavy restorative work such as crowns and dentures, or patients who have problems flossing routinely, a Waterpik can help keep your teeth clean better than just brushing. For all other patients, if you want to be extra diligent about oral hygiene, consider using both a dental water jet and floss.
Floss first to loosen plaque, and use the jet to flush it away, then follow up with brushing using a fluoride toothpaste. Patients who use the waterpik report less bleeding, firmer gum tissue and more comfortable dental visits.
If you are interested in using a Waterpik and would like to find out more about them, your hygienist can show you some models and explain to you more about how they work, as well as recommend the best model for you.
Please contact Dr. Marichia Attalla
for a free consultation regarding any questions or concerns about your periodontal health.