Is a Waterpik as Good as Floss for Oral Health?
- Posted on: Nov 15 2017
Oral care is a daily practice that we are all encouraged to perform with great care. Because it is a daily habit, though, it is very easy to fall short of the intended goal. Many of the people we meet are consistent in their brushing routine; morning and night pretty much every day. Flossing, on the other hand, as easy as the task is, somehow falls to the wayside. We are too rushed, or we just don’t see the point, or we just really don’t like the activity for some reason. Flossing may be a forgotten art, but it doesn’t have to be.
A Waterpik is a commercial product designed to irrigate the spaces in between teeth in a manner similar to that used in professional dental offices. In the clinical setting, water irrigation is a matter of convenience. It is a method of cleansing debris from a treatment area during procedures and is also often incorporated into general cleanings. During hygiene appointments, water irrigation does not take the place of flossing. That begs to question, then, if a Waterpik could be used at home as an alternative to manual floss.
Where Oral Irrigation Makes Sense
There are a few situations in which irrigation using water may be highly beneficial. One instance is when dexterity issues such as arthritis prevent a person from the ability to floss efficiently, or floss at all. Teens and adults with braces, as well, may find the use of a pressurized stream of water more comfortable and convenient than trying to string floss through brackets and wires. Finally, bridgework may be more easily cleaned with the use of water versus a floss threader.
The primary concern that many dentists have with Waterpik use as an alternative to flossing is the degree of cleanliness that may be achieved. Water may not remove as much debris, including plaque, as a string of floss. On the other hand, water irrigation is certainly better than doing nothing to remove bacteria and tiny particles from in-between spaces and the gum line. This practice may be maximized with a bit of antibacterial solution in the water reservoir, and with a consistent professional follow-up to monitor gum health.
Posted in: Dental Cleaning