The Waterpik (Water Flosser): An Alternative to Flossing for Gum Health but NOT a Substitute for Preventing Decay

Following up on our earlier blog about why you actually have to floss and do so correctly, I wanted to talk about a home tool that patients ask about all the time, the Waterpik. First, in the past couple years the name was changed to a Water Flosser instead of a Waterpik, but it’s essentially the same product. Now this is a great product and they have innovated some really cool new ways of incorporating it into your bathroom. I myself have a Shower-Floss. It attaches to your shower head and this great product can be used in the shower; it eliminates some mess and makes your mouth feel so good after! If you are interested in the product, I can help make a recommendation as to which one – but I wanted to talk about its effectiveness today.

 

The Waterpik and Water Flosser are great for patients that have dental work that is difficult to clean, like implants or bridges. It irrigates the area, and the countertop versions that have a water basin can be filled with a medicament and used with that to increase efficacy. We talked about how flossing needs to be done to remove the bacterial byproducts from underneath the gum line and the Water Flosser can do this for you, and do it well. When I see patients incorporate this instrument in their home care regimen I see a huge reduction in bleeding and gingivitis, and I see periodontitis become arrested. I noticed a huge improvement in my own gum health. Where the device falls short (sorry, Melissa) is that it has been proven to be as effective if not more effective than flossing for gum health, but the verdict is still out on its ability to prevent cavities between the teeth from developing or progressing. The stream of water it puts out just cannot effectively debride the area between a tight contact; that requires the arm and muscle of your floss-equipped hand.

 

So although the Water Flosser is a great instrument and I absolutely love mine, it is not a substitute for conventional flossing, especially for our patients with a high risk for decay between their teeth. Come see us at Katy Trail Dental, and I would be happy to discuss your current home care regimen and make recommendations for improvement or explain how your current regimen is effective for you. In this Teeth Business, we want to help you keep those teeth for years to come! Call to schedule today!