Is a Water Flosser Right for You?

Are you looking for ways to improve your oral hygiene? You may want to invest in a water flosser. Water flossers—also known as oral irrigators or dental water jets—are dental devices that you can use at home to help you remove plaque and food debris. Like string floss, they can help remove plaque in interproximal spaces, or the spaces between teeth. They can also help people reduce the risk of gingivitis or gum disease since they remove bacteria around the gum line. Read on to learn more about this product and who it can benefit.

How Does it Work?

Water flossers are handheld devices that have a small reservoir that can be filled with water. When the water flosser is turned on, it sends a strong, thin stream of water out of a nozzle. To use this device, patients lean over the bathroom sink, insert the nozzle into their mouth, and turn on the device. The water will flow from the mouth into the sink and wash away plaque and food debris. There is no additional risk of using a water flosser compared to string floss. You may have to spend some more money upfront to purchase a water flosser and your sink may just be a bit messier from debris as the water flosser jet can be strong. Water flossers also come with different settings, as some people may prefer a strong stream of water, while other people may find that higher settings are too harsh on their gums and prefer lower, pulsed settings.

Can it Replace String Flossing?

You should talk with your dentist before replacing string floss with a water flosser, as some may say it's OK to replace string flossing and others may say that you shouldn't. However, if you aren't flossing much or at all, then a water flosser can greatly improve your oral hygiene. Your dentist may be alright with you only using a water flosser, as one review found that these devices could remove biofilms and bacteria from enamel and periodontal pockets just as well as string flossers.

Who Could Benefit from Using a Water Flosser?

Water flossers can be used by anyone, but some demographics may greatly benefit from these devices. For instance, if you wear any kind of orthodontic appliances, like braces, then water flossers can help you avoid shredded floss as you remove plaque between brackets and wires. Do you have a condition, like arthritis, that makes it difficult to maneuver string floss? One study found that water flossers could help patients have better control with manual dexterity, and these devices were just as efficient as standard floss at removing interdental plaque. Lastly, if you have any permanent restorations such as dental implants, a water flosser may be better at preventing inflammatory conditions. String floss can sometimes shred around a rough implant surface and increase the risk of peri-implantitis, but other flossing alternatives, like interproximal brushes, may be better. Your dentist might recommend a water flosser to reduce the risk of peri-implantitis.

Reach out to a dentist such as Dr. Jon Douglas Lesan, DDS, RpH, PA today to learn more about water flossers and whether this device would be beneficial for your at-home dental care.