What You Should Know About Dental WaterPiks

FlossingWe’ve all heard that flossing is essential for good dental health, and that’s true. Using a toothbrush alone leaves 40 percent of your dental surfaces untouched. But what if it’s hard for you to floss, due to dexterity problems or arthritis? Or you just hate to do it? The good news is that the Waterpik and other water flossing devices represent an effective alternative to traditional flossing.

Water flossing devices shoot small jet pulses of water at anywhere from 5 to 90 lbs. per square inch (psi) at 1,600 pulses per minute. Waterpiks do more than just clean the surfaces of your teeth. Special tips can reach into “pockets” that form in the gumline around your teeth. Properly executed water flossing can remove dental plaque, reduce gum inflammation and infection, and get deeper into pockets than traditional floss can. Research has confirmed that water flossing can help maintain the effectiveness of periodontal procedures such as root scaling and planing. Most Waterpik units come with different tips, which can be used for cleaning around orthodontic devices like braces, maintaining dental implants, or thoroughly cleaning one’s tongue.

Water flossing devices are easy to use. Most of them operate with lukewarm tap or bottled water, or your dentist may suggest a medically indicated treatment wash to use. To clean between your teeth, start with the back teeth and pause briefly between teeth as the high-pressure jet sprays the water, aiming the tip just above the gumline at a 90 degree angle.

“Traditional flossing is a great way to care for your teeth, but if you can’t – or just won’t – do it, waterpiks give a similar or better result and can play an important role in keeping your mouth healthy,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist practicing in central Phoenix.

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