The use of a dental water flosser (e.g., Waterpik®) has benefits for individuals who have wire and bracket braces, permanent lingual retainers, bridges, dental implants, crowns, and back teeth that are hard to reach when flossing. In fact, the use of a water flosser has benefits for everyone from grade school age and up. Waterpik offers an FDA-approved version for adults and an FDA approved version for kids age 6+.
Where it is difficult to floss thoroughly with traditional string floss, and as an adjunct to traditional flossing, forcing water between the teeth and around the base of teeth flushes out remaining food particles (even from deep gum pockets) AND helps disrupt oral bacteria that may be colonizing on dental surfaces to form plaque.
Studies have shown that the pulsating action of the Water Flosser helps patients safely and effectively clean difficult-to-access areas, such as those surrounding implants. At the “medium” setting, the combination of pulsation and water pressure removes biofilm comfortably, without damage to soft tissue.
If a patient has signs of gum inflammation when we do a dental cleaning and checkup, I recommend they start doing water flossing, in addition to using traditional string floss, at the end of every day. If improvement is not significant, I recommend they do water flossing more than once a day, and I discuss the possible addition of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to the water.
I have seen gum pockets in my patients decrease in depth at a steady rate with the addition of daily water flossing. Of course, thorough brushing and good nutrition are part of this.
I suggest my patient floss first, to loosen debris and disrupt the sticky plaque. The purpose of flossing is to disrupt bacteria attaching to your teeth. As long as you keep disrupting them, you minimize their opportunity create the plaque biofilm that irritates gums and erodes enamel. Once loosened, the toothbrush may more easily remove the remaining plaque.
Coming to our office every six months (or less in some circumstances) for professional dental cleaning is also necessary to stay disease free. This cleaning will also remove superficial stains and give you the healthy-appearing, bright smile you want.