Flossing is one of the essential steps for good oral hygiene but just like brushes, there is an electric alternative, water flosser.
It works like a dental floss but uses water to remove any stuck food particles from between your teeth.
Similar to string floss, it removes plaque from your mouth to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Though rather than manually using a string, this handheld device splashes water in between your teeth to clear plaque.
This article discusses their types, benefits and comparison with traditional string floss. Keep reading to know which option is better for you.
What is a Water Flosser?
Also known as a water jet or an oral irrigator, it is used to remove plaque on teeth and bacteria stuck between your teeth and gum.
It includes a water reservoir that holds water, a nozzle and an electric motor.
You fill the reservoir with water mostly that is warm or lukewarm.
Then place the oral irrigator in your mouth beneath the gum line.
Place it at a 90-degree angle as the water splashes in the form of a spray between your teeth.
Gradually go across all of your teeth from the back and front, beneath the gums and in between the teeth.
To avoid any mess, try to stay closer to the sink.
Moreover, also hold the jet’s tip between each tooth to allow removal of plaque and let the water flow straight to the sink.
Use it for a full 2 minutes.
After you are done remove any excess water remaining in the reservoir to stop the growth of bacteria inside.
Though there are different types of oral irrigators.
1. Cordless Water Flosser: They are travel-friendly and easy to carry. This is because they are small and slim. Hence, they are portable and allow for flexibility.
2. Faucet: It has a cord that is attached to the water basin. It is one of the most popular and commonly used oral irrigators. However, it is not portable as it has a cord.
3. Countertop: You can plug it in an electrical socket. As the name suggests it stays on a countertop. It is pretty heavy and also includes an irrigation tank which requires refilling continually.
4. Shower: It attaches to a showerhead similar to a faucet flosser. Therefore, you can use it while showering or after that. Though, you cannot move it. However, the plus points are that you do not require any electricity, refills or even batteries for it to function.
Who Should Use It?
Anyone who wishes to get extra cleaning for good oral hygiene can use an oral irrigator.
Though, you can especially benefit from using it if you:
- Wear Braces
If you wear braces then it is likely that food will get stuck under metal wires and brackets while you eat.
Not only is this uncomfortable but it also harder to clean.
However, water jets help to clean those areas where the string floss cannot reach properly.
It clears plaque around the brackets and prevents the formation of gingivitis.
- Usually Get Food Stuck In Your Teeth
You may regularly get food stuck in your teeth.
One possible reason behind that is the alignment of your teeth.
There might be some malocclusion, gaps, or general misalignment which causes food particles to get stuck between teeth while you eat anything.
That’s when you can make regular use of an oral irrigator.
If you get food stuck because of your natural teeth shape or dental work, you can clear it all off by using the oral irrigator once a day.
- Have Gums That Bleed
If your gums bleed regularly then there might be an underlying cause behind it.
It can either be periodontal disease or gingivitis but it can also be the string flossing that you use hardly.
Hence, it will become difficult to floss regularly with bleeding gums.
Instead, you can use an oral irrigator to remove the plaque and bacteria without the use of a string.
In fact, they have adjustable pressure settings that help to remove all food in a sensitive mode.
Moreover, pulsating setting reaches areas that are harder to reach especially in dental work such as braces and dental implants.
- Suffer from Dry Mouth
If you suffer from a dry mouth then your mouth produces very saliva.
Saliva helps to clear a lot of bacteria and acids in your mouth.
It also stops plaque buildup.
Hence, it is very important in maintaining your oral health.
Though medications and medical conditions can result in salivary glands producing less saliva.
An oral irrigator can help to compensate for this lack of saliva and moisture in your mouth.
By delivering water and flossing along, it can also prevent cavities that result from a lack of saliva in the mouth.
The Benefits of Using a Water Flosser vs Traditional Floss
Traditional string floss helps to remove plaque and bacteria adequately from your teeth.
Oral irrigators use hydrokinetics to remove loose plaque and clean the gum line.
They also have different modes such as the sensitive mode which allows gentle flossing through dental work such as crowns, braces and implants.
Hence, they are a better choice if you have sensitive teeth and gums.
It is easier to reach tight spaces and the back teeth with an oral irrigator.
You can also get through periodontal pockets and clean them properly using water movement.
Beginners should put the tip at the back teeth first and then slowly come over to their front teeth.
Furthermore, they are much easier to use than your traditional string floss.
People do not make the correct C shape while flossing which renders it useless.
Using a water jet isn’t hardcore and is much easier to understand and learn.
If you do not floss properly with string floss then that can eventually cause damage to your gum tissue.
This results in pain. Whereas water jets do not use much technique neither do they result in any pain.
Although, the traditional flossing method using the string allows you to effectively clean across all your teeth.
Yes, it is harder to reach teeth that are too close and further away but you have control.
This control allows you to completely clean a tooth from up and down and move it across your teeth.
On the other hand, oral irrigators usually clean loose bacteria and plaque.
Though, they can clean deep into the periodontal holes and can help clear food scraps where string floss cannot reach.
They are also more gentle on teeth and less abrasive.
Hence, both traditional flossing and water hets have their sets of pros and cons.
For the best oral health, you should combine the two and not substitute one for another.
You can floss before and after brushing.
Brushing first will allow you to remove more plaque through that and let fluoride reach areas where the brush cannot through flossing.
While if you brush afterward then you can loosen plaque through flossing which you can easily remove completely after brushing.
Options For You
Now that you know that you should include an oral irrigator in your oral routine, let’s look at the good options to choose from.
If we go by ratings on Water flosser amazon, then the Waterpik Aquarius Water Flosser is a great pick.
It has a good enough reservoir that can hold up to 22 ounces of water.
This means that you easily floss for 90 seconds.
Furthermore, it has 10 pressure settings and modes, one of which helps to massage the gum.
What’s more, is that it has around 7 tips.
Three of them are regular ones while one is for braces, another for periodontal pockets, one as a brush head and one for plaque.
It is a great pick if you want to have an all-rounder oral irrigator.
Waterpik is a good flosser company and it produces other products as well such as the Waterpik Cordless and Sonic Fusion flosser.
A good competitor to Waterpik can be Philips with its Sonicare Airfloss Ultra.
It uses both air and water to remove plaque from the mouth.
Rather than releasing a steady stream of water, it releases water in short bursts.
You can select the number of bursts from one to three.
Moreover, it is cordless and rechargeable. Its battery can last up to three weeks easily.
It includes three pressure settings and two tips.
Furthermore, it is compact and slim so it is easy to hold.
Though these flossers are great enough, you will still need to brush and use traditional floss to complete your oral health routine.
Flossing is essential for your mouth health.
Therefore, you need to combine it with brushing and mouthwash to obtain a healthy, plaque-free mouth.
A water flosser is easy to use and can eliminate plaque from difficult to reach areas.
Hence, they should be a part of your routine to make sure that you are free from any bacteria or plaque.