Lately our Sacramento Dentistry Group blog posts have focused on the most important aspect of your dental health – daily oral hygiene. Information about your toothbrush, mechanical toothbrushes and types of interdental hygiene tools, like floss and interdental brushes, have all been considered. What about water flossers, or personal oral irrigators, such as devices by Waterpik? Are they actually effective?
We have a fifty-year track record for dental water jets, since they were invented in 1962 by Colorado dentist Gerald Moyer and hydraulic engineer John Mattingly. Like most products designed to help you clean your teeth, studies show that using them regularly does produce significant improvements in plaque reduction and even microbe removal from the teeth and gums. A minimum number of pulsations per minute (usually 1200) and using medium power are the generally recommended settings in most studies.
While any of our Sacramento patients can benefit from using an oral irrigator at home, a review of the many studies documenting their advantages specifically recommends them for the following types of patients.
Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease
When the subgingival tip is used and the water flow is directed towards the gum pockets surrounding the teeth, significant reduction in the microbes causing biofilm, plaque and gum disease results. Dental water jets also reduce oral bleeding (a symptom of gum disease) in comparison to using a toothbrush alone, or a toothbrush and floss.
Since diabetics often experience difficulty with gum disease, water flossing is recommended by some studies as a form of preventive maintenance. Aggressive removal of plaque, without damaging the enamel or the gums, is possible with water irrigation devices.
How to get the food particles out of your braces? While interdental brushes are going to be the only solution for some situations, a water flosser is an excellent option when braces are installed. Maintaining the good health of your teeth and gums with proper hygiene is very important with orthodontics, since you don’t want to invest the time and cost in repair only to have your teeth succumb to periodontal disease.
To conclude, a water flosser is an excellent addition to your tools for home oral hygiene. Like your toothbrush, floss, and interdental brushes, it can play a positive role in maintaining your dental health. So use your toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste a minimum of twice daily and clean between your teeth with the tool of your choice, because the most important step in cleaning your teeth is to actually do it every day!