Do you ever just stand in the shower and let the high pressured water flow in between your teeth? No? Oh… Eh. Okay, awkward.. Maybe it’s just me. Anyways, I absolutely love the way this feels. I turn up the shower water as high as it’ll go and blast my teeth with it. That is, until I discovered the water flosser.
If you thought your teeth were clean before, think again. Nothing feels as clean as a good brushing (preferably with a sonic toothbrush) followed by a water flosser session.
As a dental hygienist, I can tell you that most people don’t floss. There are several different reasons for this. Everyone has a different excuse for not wanting to floss.
The most common reasons I hear are, it takes too long, it’s too hard, bleeding gums, it hurts and their teeth are too tight. Or they just simply forget and/or do not find it important or want to floss.
News flash. Flossing IS important. Like REALLY important. Check out this article all about the benefits of flossing.
I get it though. To be honest, before I went to dental hygiene school, I didn’t realize the significance of flossing.
Now that I know what I know, I feel like it’s my job as an oral health advocate to stress the importance of flossing. I see everyday what not flossing can do to someone’s oral health.
In my professional experience, I have learned many people hate regular string flossing.
However, a lot of patients are interested in flossing alternatives and this is where water flossers come in.
Check out the BEST water flossers of 2021 list->HERE!
What is a a Water Flosser?
Other names for water flossers are also known as a mouth water irrigator, an oral irrigator, electric flosser, or water jet flosser or water flosser pik.
The water flosser is a handheld device that helps to get rid of plaque and food particles that buildup on and in between your teeth. It blasts water in between teeth and around the gums to blast away plaque, debris and bacteria. It is similar to flossing but with water. This is why it is called water flossing. I must add that it is much more fun to floss this way.
Water flossers or waterpiks are an interesting alternative to the popular but traditional method of flossing that involves a string and fingers.
Plaque can be like poison to the existence of your mouth. This sticky film has what it takes to cause dental issues gum disease, build up, and cavities.
So, would using a water flosser be a good method of preventing the build-up of plaque between your teeth?
How do water flossers work? Does a water flosser replace regular flossing?
This guide to water flossers covers everything you need to know, so, let’s get started.
How do water flossers work?
All you have to do is get the device filled up with water and power it on. This causes it to produce water streams that help to clean around your gum line and in between your teeth.
Most water flossers will have several different settings. You can start out on a low stream of water and turn it up to a high powered, water jet like setting.
I highly recommend starting off with a low setting and gradually easing your way up once you become accustomed to it.
Where to buy an electric water flosser?
You can buy them on Amazon or at big name department stores. I find the prices to typically be more competitive on Amazon.
Here are some of the best water flossers to check out:
Electric toothbrush with water flosser sonic fusion duo
Are Water Flossers Effective?
Yes. Water flossers are very effective at removing plaque and debris in hard to reach areas. The water helps flush out bacteria and leaves the mouth in a much healthier state with regular use.
I see a huge difference in my partients that use a water flosser.
And there is plenty of research to prove it.
If you’re wondering if there’s research to prove the value of water flossers, this device has undergone over fifty evaluations.
The findings from a 2013 study point to the fact that combining brushing with water flossing is potentially more effective in the removal of plaque than combining string flossing with a manual brush.
Now let me be clear on my professional opinion as a dental hygienist. I never recommend anything over traditional string floss. I believe that you need that mechanical friction from string floss to scrape off plaque.
The water flossers are WONDERFUL when used in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing. And if you are not going to floss at all l, then by all means please use a water jet flosser.
Any flossing is better than no flossing.
A waterpik or water flosser offers so many fantastic benefits and is a great addition to your oral care routine.
Do water flossers get rid of plaque?
Yes, water flossers are a great tool to blast plaque away especially in hard to reach areas and irrigate in between teeth.
Does a water flosser help with bleeding gums and gingivitis?
Water flosser vs. string floss
Waterpik Vs. String floss. Who wins?
Is water flossing as effective as traditional string floss?
Findings from a study that appeared in a clinical dentistry journal showed that the effectiveness of water flossing is about 29% more when compared to traditional flossing.
The overall level of plaque removal was seen to be better with water flossers.
Even if the sample size was not that large, this is great news for people who are enthusiastic about water flossing.
So, Is a water flosser as good as flossing and does a mouth water irrigator replace regular flossing?
This oral pulsating irrigator performs its function by aiming water streams at your teeth.
This makes it effective at eliminating food particles and plaque buildup that is lodged between your teeth.
It can also help to reduce the level of gum disease and bleeding that you experience.
Does a water flosser replace flossing?
A water flosser is great but it does not fully replace traditional flossing.
Water flossing should NOT be seen as a total substitute for traditional flossing and manual brushing. This is because even if it helps to reduce how much bacteria you have in your gum line, it may not effectively remove all the plaque and visible film that you have on your teeth.
It is an even better idea to combine the water flosser with traditional flossing because the process can help to get rid of bacterial colonies and rinse the areas clean.
One reason that we highly recommend a water flosser is that it doesn’t need as much manual dexterity.
This is an ideal tool for patients that have difficulty in cleaning in between the teeth whenever they want to floss.
If you want to keep your oral health in top shape, flossing at least once a day is highly recommended.
But it is common knowledge that some people have challenges when it comes to using traditional floss.
For this reason, water flossers come in handy. But you should also seek the advice of your dentist before swapping your string floss with an oral irrigator or Waterpik.
This is because your dental hygienist can assist you in deciding how is best to use this tool to effectively clean your teeth and gums.
Benefits of using a Water flosser
If you are wondering why you should use a water jet flosser, here are some water flosser benefits.
- Your implants and dental restorations remain safe
If you have implants, you know how important maintenance is for them to last long. Water flushes are gentle when used on implants and restorations.
- It eases the challenge of cleaning orthodontic appliances and braces
Especially in the case of teenagers, orthodontic appliances need to be cleaned but can be a challenging task. This process is simplified with water flossing.
I see AMAZING results in my patients that use a waterpik for braces.
A study involving adolescents aged 11-17 found that using an orthodontic tip water flosser for about 28 days helped to reduce plaque 3 times better than using a string of floss and manual brush.
It also showed a better reduction rate when compared to only brushing. The group that used the water flosser also experienced an 84.5% reduction in bleeding which shows a 26% and 53% improvement when compared to the other respective groups.
- Ease of use
An oral irrigator is very easy to use when compared to string floss. This is because it needs very minimal manual dexterity.
With this device, you can clean your mouth within a minute.
Apart from what you spend to purchase this device, you’d only need water and you have the option of using some mouth rinses.
Regardless of your age, the Waterpik is ideal and can be used for younger kids under parental guidance.
While a water flosser is a highly recommended device, there may be some areas that a few users have issues. Some people feel that it is not very portable as it is a rather big device.
So in steps the cordless water flosser to save the day!
The cordless water flosser
Update 11/25/20– BURST oral care has just released their cordless water flosser and it is now my absolute favorite! This cordless water flosser is one of the most powerful on the market at 160 psi! It has 3 powerful settings: turbo, standard and pulse modes. Long lasting battery that lasts up to 80 days on one charge when used everyday. Smart timer with a 45 second irrigation cycle and automatic shut-off. The tip rotates a fill 360 degrees for easy access to all mouth areas. 3 different tips are available: standard, ortho (for braces) and perio.
I have both a regular waterpik and a cordless waterpik. I am obsessed with my cordless water flossers! It can be exciting to use a standard water flosser but what happens when you want something more portable?
If you feel that this is a drawback, you can go for a cordless water flosser which is a great alternative to the standard electric flosser.
This means you can carry your device along with you no matter where in the world you plan to travel. A cordless water flosser is just as effective as a regular water flosser.
I don’t like big and bulky things on my counter, so I personally love the cordless flossers. They are smaller and sleeker. Only con to this is that you may have to fill the water compartment up a little more often than the standard one. The standard type has a huge water reservoir and does not have to be filled up often. But it doesn’t bother me to refill the reservoir more often.
Signs that you need a water flosser
Flossing is an ideal dental practice that helps to maintain your oral health. Here are some signs that show you need to get a water jet flosser today:
- Traditional flossing is a huge challenge
If you have problems with getting the string into the spaces in between your teeth and taking it out, consider using a water flosser.
This helps you not to risk leftover food staying stuck between your teeth.
2. Your orthodontic work makes string flossing difficult
If you’ve got some sort of orthodontic dental work like braces or an ortho appliance that makes traditional flossing seem tricky, you should get an electric flosser.
3. You don’t have very straight teeth
This can cause you trouble with moving your floss string floss back and forth. Using a Waterpik can help you to get the job done more efficiently.
4. You just do not have a thing for traditional flossing
Different Types of Water Flosser Tips
Water flossers have different tips that perform different functions. Your water flosser should come with a few different options of tips.
Here are some of the most common water flosser tips:
- Classic jet tip
This tip is ideal for daily use and is considered to be the standard. It can give you a deep clean between your teeth and also underneath your gum line. This helps to protect you against gum disease while enhancing your dental well-being.
- Tongue cleaner
The tongue cleaner takes the shape of a spoon. This helps it to trap and get rid of bacteria effectively from your tongue. It is a great water flosser that promotes fresh breath.
- Orthodontic tip
This electric flosser tip is ideal for orthodontics and braces. It comes with a tapered brush and helps to get rid of plaque with ease. It is also good for flushing out food debris, as well as bacteria lodged around the teeth and underneath your gums.
- Toothbrush tip
This tip is designed like that of a manual toothbrush. All you have to do is attach it to the handle of your waterflosser and brush your teeth manually while flossing. It is a great tip for general use. Here is a great waterflosser which also contains a sonic toothbrush. > Waterpik Electric Toothbrush and Water Flosser
If taking out food particles from your mouth with a string takes up so much of your time that you hate to do it, get yourself an oral irrigator.
Using a water flosser is a great way to keep your gums and teeth healthy when combined with regular brushing and flossing.
With the water flosser, you have a perfect way to clean between your teeth. And did I mention how amazing it feels?
This can help to prevent the common dental problems that come with poor dental hygiene. If you’ve got any concerns, do not hesitate to seek professional advice from your dentist.
Kelly Hancock, RDH
Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.