Today, we’re highlighting the water flosser, also known as interdental cleaner, interdental irrigator, or water jet. The first water-shooting device for cleaning between teeth was created in the early 1960’s by Colorado dentist Dr. Gerald Moyer and John Mattingly, a hydraulics engineer. The instrument is now known by the brand name Waterpik, though many people use the term generically. Since its introduction, several other companies have entered the market with similar products. (Note: Center for Dental Anesthesia does not necessarily endorse any particular brand.)
A water irrigation apparatus 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 put 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 maneuver the stream of shooting water around the gumline, stopping briefly at each gap between adjacent teeth.
There have been over 65 studies that have affirmed the safety and proficiency of water flossing for calculus reduction, plaque biofilm removal, bleeding reduction, inflammation reduction, and gingivitis care.
Should I Use a Water Flosser?
If you don’t floss at all, absolutely. If you have gum disease, perhaps. It may also help you keep your teeth and gums healthy if you have dental bridgework.
First, communicate with Dentist Mady to receive an oral care treatment plan that factors in your tooth and gum health, physical dexterity, and lifestyle. The following circumstances may impact whether or not Dentist Mady advises you to use an interdental irrigation device.
Braces or other orthodontic appliances
A physical disability that lessens ability to brush and/or floss
Gums that bleed when flossing
Bleeding around dental implants when flossing
Aversion to flossing
The professional team at Center for Dental Anesthesia would love to help you learn the best suited methods for keeping your gums pink and healthy and firmly attached to cavity-free teeth. To schedule an appointment, call 703-379-6400.
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