Many of my patients are now flossing with a water flosser such as Waterpik®. The benefits of this are multiple. The pulsing water not only removes micro food debris stuck between teeth and in gum tissue pockets around teeth, it disrupts colonizing bacteria, washing food debris and bacteria away. On top of that, the pulsing water stimulates gum tissue, increasing circulation and firming it. Regular use has significant benefit and is especially beneficial if you do not floss with dental floss regularly and find water flossing more pleasurable, or if you are battling gum inflammation around some or all teeth and water floss in addition to string flossing.
Waterpik® has published guidelines for how to clean its brand water flosser, and these are important to know if you want to extend the life of your Waterpik by maintaining its effectiveness. Effectiveness will decline if mineral deposits and other materials collected in the valves and internal parts of the machine.
There are four simple steps for cleaning, using water, vinegar, and your dishwasher. Waterpick recommends you perform this cleaning every one to three months.
Step 1: You will clean the water reservoir and reservoir valve. Remove the water reservoir, remove the black reservoir valve by pushing it from the bottom. Clean the valve by massaging it with warm water and set it aside. Place the reservoir on the top rack of your dishwasher for cleaning but remove it before the heated dry cycle and let it air dry. Insert the black valve, dome side up.
Step 2: You will clean the internal parts of your water flosser. This is done after you have cleaned the reservoir and valve as described above and put the reservoir back on top of your machine. Mix two to four tablespoons of white vinegar with 16 ounces of warm water in the reservoir and then run half of it through the flosser. Turn the water flosser off and place the handle in the sink so the vinegar and water solution can gradually drain out the handle for 20 minutes. After this 20 minutes, you can run the rest of the solution through and then rinse with a full reservoir of warm water.
Step 3: You will clean the exterior of the handle and the flosser tip separately. To clean the exterior of the handle, remove the tip using the eject button, and soak the handle in a container of white vinegar for five to seven minutes, then rinse the handle. To clean the tip, place it in hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar for five minutes.
More details and illustrative photo images are available from Waterpik, as well as customer support.