Oral Health 101: What Is a Water Flosser?

Excellent oral health cannot be achieved without our trusty dental hygiene tools. From toothbrushes to single-use flossers, our daily oral health depends on these helpful devices.

Of course, no daily brushing routine is complete without cleaning carefully between the teeth. Food can get wedged in the spaces where teeth meet, and dislodging these particles is difficult without the right tools. That is where a water flosser comes in.

What is a water flosser?

A water flosser is an oral health appliance designed for at-home dental care. It consists of a motor, pump, water reservoir and special water flosser tip. The pump pressurizes a stream of water through the flosser tip and into the mouth. The pressurized water is aimed at the spaces between teeth and at the gumline, clearing food particles and effectively rinsing the area and freeing teeth from debris.

How do I use a water flosser?

Place the nozzle at a 90-degree angle directly against where the tooth meets the gumline. With your head tilted over the sink and mouth slightly open, switch the water flosser on. A steady stream of water will be propelled into the space between teeth. Move around the gumline slowly, careful to reach the space between every tooth and the arch of the gums. The mouth must be slightly open to allow for the water to drain and the device to work properly.

What is the purpose of a water flosser?

The water flosser is meant to improve oral health by cleaning the space between teeth. The appliance does so by aiming a targeted stream of water, removing food particles, plaque and bacteria more effectively and comfortably than string floss. As an added benefit, the pulsating action of the water stimulates gum tissue.

Can a water flosser replace real floss?

Although water flossers remove much of the debris between teeth, there is no substitution for floss. Ideally, patients with excellent oral health will use both a water flosser and traditional floss.

Why choose a water flosser?

The water flosser is a more comfortable alternative to traditional dental floss. Many find water flossing easier and more pleasant than string floss. Although it is not recommended to use solely on its own, an advantage of the water flosser is that patients tend to use it more often due to ease of use. When used more often, it can produce a similar effect to traditional flossing.

Those who have trouble using their hands for flossing can enjoy the ergonomic shape of the water flosser. Older patients with arthritis report success with the water flosser.

Oral health is dependent not only on teeth health but also on the health of the gums. The water flosser is clinically proven to reduce gingivitis and remove plaque from the gumline. Water flossers help in the prevention and treatment of gum disease.

Traditional floss requires alternative tools when used with braces and other dental appliances like bridges. With a water flosser, cleaning these devices is much easier.

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