Water Flossers and Dental Health

“How often are you flossing?” Does that question make you squirm a little in the dental chair? We know that we should floss daily, but perhaps you are like many others that don’t floss because they feel it is too time consuming. Some choose to use a water flosser in place of daily flossing. What are the benefits of using a water flosser? Is using a water flosser as effective as flossing? Here is what we tell our patients at the Placerville Dental Group.

History and Benefits of the Water Flosser

The Waterpik, also known as a water flosser, was invented in the 1960’s. A water flosser creates a high-pressure water stream that cleans between the gaps in teeth. Today there are four different types of water flossers; countertop, cordless or battery operated, shower flosser, and faucet flosser. No matter the flosser type, here are some of the benefits of the water flosser device:

  • Ease of Use: Water flossers are easy to use. Most devices only require you to attach the flosser tip (some models come with a variety of tips), add water, and then turn the device on while leaning over the sink. You hold the handle at a 90-degree angle to your teeth and allow the spray to clean between your teeth.
  • Versatility: Most water flossers come with a variety of pressure settings (10-100 PSI) and tips that make it versatile enough for all family members. Whether you are age 6 or 90, have braces or dental implants, or varying degrees of gum sensitivity, water flossers can be modified to your individual needs.
  • Plaque Removal: The pulsating action of the water flosser in addition to the pressure chosen by the user potentially offers a deeper cleaning below the gumline than traditional flossing and effectively helps you clean around orthodontic or other oral devices.
  • An extra note on using water flossers with braces — they are really helpful if you are using orthodontics. Traditional flossing is still needed to remove plaque between the tight parts of your teeth, but the water flosser can make oral hygiene much easier with braces. A future article will look at a recent study that examined string flossing versus water flossing with braces.
  • Gum Health: Water flossers are gentler on the gums compared to traditional floss, reducing the risk of bleeding and gum irritation and is especially beneficial for those with sensitive gums or gum disease.

Water Flossers – More Effective Than Flossing?

So far, we know that Waterpiks or flossers are beneficial, however, are they more effective than traditional flossing? The answer is dependent on several factors, including the user’s technique, dental conditions, and personal preference.

As with any device, the proper use of the device determines its effectiveness. Whether you use traditional flossing techniques or a water flosser, holding the floss or device correctly will ensure a better outcome. If the user is quite young, or is older with limited dexterity, then help may be necessary. A water flosser is an excellent tool for those with fixed dental appliances or braces. It enables the user to flush food particles and plaque out of areas in the mouth that traditional flossing cannot.

The choice between a water flosser and traditional floss is at times just a personal preference. You might find a water flosser is easier to use. Some feel that traditional flossing gives more attention to each individual tooth. While the water flosser is an effective device, most dental professionals agree that water flossers should not replace traditional flossing but rather complement it. Using both methods provides a comprehensive cleaning experience.

Placerville Dentists Here to Help

If you have questions regarding Waterpiks or other water flossers, contact the dental professionals at the Placerville Dental Group. We are here to help you make the best decisions for your oral health!


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