Have you ever vacuumed a floor or cleaned a countertop that seemed spotless only to be shocked by the amount of dirt and grime you were able to remove? A similar phenomenon usually occurs when you floss your teeth. Although your smile may seem clean after you brush your teeth, flossing can bring out tiny fragments of food that were stuck between your teeth as well as gooey white mucus and bacteria. Yuck! It is absolutely essential for your oral health that you floss your teeth daily. While standard dental floss is the most common tool used for flossing, you may wish to explore waterpiks as well. But what is a waterpik? And how does it compare to standard flossing?
What Is a Waterpik?
A waterpik, also known as an oral irrigator or a water flosser, is a device that you can use to aim a small stream of pulsating water at your teeth. The tool typically contains a water reservoir, a flosser tip, and a motor and pump. When a button is pressed, the motor and pump cause a stream of pressurized water to flow from the water reservoir through the flosser tip. This can remove food particles and bacteria from your teeth and reduce your risk of developing gum disease.
According to the American Dental Association, a waterpik with the ADA Seal of Acceptance can remove plaque (the film that turns into tartar, leading to cavities and gum disease) along the gumline and between teeth to prevent and reduce the risk of gingivitis (i.e., inflammation of the gums).
How a Waterpik Compares to Floss
While a waterpik is an effective tool for cleaning teeth and removing bacteria, it isn’t considered an effective substitute for flossing your teeth with dental floss. Waterpiks have not been definitively proven to be as effective as dental floss. Experts recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, and use a waterpik on top of that if you wish. You can use your waterpik before or after flossing your teeth.
When compared to dental floss, waterpiks have a few disadvantages:
- They have not been proven to be as effective as dental floss at cleaning between the teeth.
- They aren’t easy to use on the go due to their larger size.
- They must be plugged into a power outlet or recharged, which makes them less convenient for travel.
- Some people experience a learning curve when figuring out how to comfortably use a waterpik.
- They can be messy, as the water splashes back after hitting the teeth and gums.
That said, waterpiks also present a few advantages:
- Many people find them easier to use when compared with fiddly dental floss.
- They can reach some hard-to-reach areas, such as the back of the mouth and periodontal pockets.
- Some people like to use them after flossing to rinse away food and debris removed by dental floss.
Who Might Wish to Use a Water Flosser?
Do you wear braces? Traditional metal braces are notorious for making it difficult to effectively clean every surface of each tooth. While it’s still important to thread dental floss under your braces’ wires each day to floss between the teeth, a waterpik is an effective tool for further cleaning the teeth. Wearers of braces can use the directed stream of water to clean around the brackets and behind the wires of braces.
People with permanent bridges, fixed bridges, or dental implants may find water flossers handy. They’re also a good option for people who find it difficult to floss their teeth, such as people who suffer from arthritis. Furthermore, dentists may recommend water flossers for people at a high risk of gum disease, such as people who have diabetes.
Finally, anyone who wishes to get their mouth a little cleaner might enjoy adding a waterpik to their regular brushing and flossing routine.
Thinking about adding a water flosser to your oral health routine? Ask your dentist for advice.
And if you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!