Technology has made significant improvements in dentistry over the past few decades, not just in the dentist’s office, but in the home. The Waterpik water flosser is just one modern gadget that promises to make flossing faster, easier and more efficient. But can it replace good old dental floss? Our South Park general dentist weighs in.
What is a Waterpik/Water Flosser?
Just as “Invisalign” is the dominant brand of clear aligners, Waterpik is the most successful water flosser on the current market. The device uses water pressure to expel bacteria from the gum pockets. Water Flossers are often recommended for patients with active gum disease, or a history of gum disease, because they can flush bacteria from deep pockets where floss can’t reach. Clinical studies have shown that a Waterpik flosser penetrates about 50% of the gum pocket depth, about two times as far as can be reached with dental floss. Additionally, a study from the University of Southern California Center for Biofilms found that a three second application of water flossing removed 99.9% of plaque biofilm from the treated area.
Is a Waterpik an Effective Floss Replacement?
Each dentist has his or her own personal opinion on this issue. The general consensus, however, is “no.” This is because string flossing gently scrapes off sticky film and plaque, while water flossers only rince the area.
However, it is important to take into consideration that the vast majority of patients do not floss every single day, as they find it tedious and time consuming. The main benefit of Waterpiks and similar devices is that they encourage patients to “floss” in some capacity every single day. In other words, while they are not a substitute for floss, they are “better than nothing.” The bottom line: it’s fine to use a water flosser, but be sure to use string floss first, then follow up with a rinse.
Who Benefits the Most from Waterpiks?
Some demographics benefit significantly from water flossers. For these people, a water flosser is actually preferable to string floss.
- Diabetic patients, who tend to be at higher risk for gum disease, have been found to have a better reduction in bleeding and gingivitis compared to those who used string floss.
- Dental implant patients typically experience superior reductions in plaque, bleeding, and gingivitis when using a water flosser in the implant area.
- People with braces and orthodontic appliances can clean their teeth far more effectively with a Waterpik than with a toothbrush alone.
- People with manual dexterity issues caused by illnesses or conditions find it easier to wield a Waterpik.
Need a Dentist in South Park? Call 32 Inspired Dental Boutique!
If you would like an in-person consultation on whether or not you should purchase a water flosser, or simply need a dental cleaning, stop by our South Park general dentist today! We can’t wait to help you achieve a healthy smile for life. Please click here to request an appointment.