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 invented 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 origin, many other companies have entered the market with similar products. (Note: Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry does not necessarily endorse any specific 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 place 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 guide the stream of shooting water around the gumline, halting momentarily at each gap between adjoining 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 gum disease, perhaps. It may also help you keep your teeth and gums healthy if you have dental appliances.
First, speak with Dr. Gustafson 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 Dr. Gustafson counsels you to use an interdental irrigation device.
Braces or other orthodontic appliances
A physical impairment that reduces ability to brush and/or floss
Gums that bleed when flossing
Bleeding around dental implants when flossing
Aversion to flossing
The friendly team at Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry would love to help you learn the best processes for keeping your gums pink and healthy and firmly attached to cavity-free teeth. To schedule an appointment, call 248-284-4879.
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