While flossing once per day is a critical element in sustaining oral health, the process itself may prove troublesome for particular individuals. Consequently, those who have braces, bridges, or who lack the dexterity to floss due to conditions like arthritis may be left exploring how else to rid the mouth of debris in those tough-to-clean areas. For those, Dr. Rashmi Bhatnagar of BellaVista Dental Care suggests water flossers as an alternative.
“Manual flossing if possible, is, I feel best, but water flossers like the Waterpik are a fabulous way to get food and debris from between the teeth, braces, and bridges,” says Bhatnagar.
Electrically powered, water flossers work by spraying water out of a pressurized jet, flushing the mouth and in between the teeth. Typically, water jets come with replaceable tips, but it’s important to remember to also wash the flosser itself.
“Just like anything else that uses a water source, these types of units need cleaning just like any other water source so as to make sure mold doesn’t develop in the reservoir,” says Bhatnagar. “Usually, cleaning and flushing them with hydrogen peroxide or vinegar works well.”
Another benefit of water flossers is the impact they have on the gums, both through ridding debris near the gum lines as well as the massaging effect they have on the gums. As with normal flossing, water flossers should be used in conjunction with brushing and mouthwash.
“The correct order is brushing, flossing (or water flossing), and then mouthwash,” says Bhatnagar.
Water flossers can generally be purchased from a dental office or from online retailers. Certain grocery stores also carry these units. The Waterpik brand is a popular choice for dental hygienists.