Today, we’re discussing the water flosser, also known as interdental cleaner, interdental irrigator, or water jet. The first water-shooting device for cleaning between teeth was developed in the early 1960’s by Colorado dentist Dr. Gerald Moyer and John Mattingly, a hydraulics engineer. The apparatus is now known by the brand name Waterpik, though many people use the term generically. Since its inception, several other companies have entered the market with similar products. (Note: William J. Stewart Jr. DDS does not necessarily endorse any particular brand.)
A water irrigation tool oscillates a stream of water through a small, targeted tube to shoot out bits of food and plaque from around and between teeth. To use it, you insert the tube into your mouth, turn it on, and then lean over the sink with your mouth slightly open to let the water dribble out as you navigate the stream of shooting water around the gumline, stopping momentarily at each gap between neighboring teeth.
There have been over 65 studies that have confirmed the safety and effectiveness of water flossing for calculus reduction, plaque biofilm removal, bleeding reduction, inflammation reduction, and gingivitis treatment.
Should I Use a Water Flosser?
If you don’t floss at all, absolutely. If you have gingivitis, maybe. It may also help you keep your teeth and gums healthy if you have dental bridgework.
First, meet with Dr. Stewart to obtain an oral care treatment plan that factors in your tooth and gum health, physical dexterity, and lifestyle. The following factors may impact whether or not Dr. Stewart guides you to use an interdental irrigation device.
Braces or other orthodontic appliances
A physical limitation that reduces ability to brush and/or floss
Gums that bleed when flossing
Bleeding around dental implants when flossing
Aversion to flossing
The patient-centered and detail oriented team at William J. Stewart Jr. DDS would love to help you learn the best suited techniques for keeping your gums pink and healthy and firmly attached to cavity-free teeth. To schedule an appointment, call 210-493-3040.
Jacquelyn L. Fried, RDH, MS, “Interdental Cleansing,” The American Dental Hygienist Association, https://www.adha.org/resources-docs/7123_Waterpik_Irrigation.pdf, accessed March 10, 2017
Carol A. Jahn, RDH, MS, “The Water Flosser: Your Tool For Optimal Oral Health,” https://www.waterpik.com/oral-health/pro/education/pdf/Waterpik_WaterFlosser_ContinuingEducation.pdf, accessed March 10, 2017
“Water Flossing,” MouthHealthy (ADA), http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/w/water-flossers, accessed March 10, 2017
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