We all know the importance of flossing, we’re reminded every time we go to the dentist. One of the first questions we’re asked when we sit down for a cleaning is, have we been brushing and flossing regularly?
Most answer honestly and know that their flossing has not been up to snuff. It’s the minority that floss daily. More people than you think are not flossing at all. It’s a very hard habit for many to form.
So that leads us to the question, are their alternatives to flossing? Are their tools out their to make what is an unpleasant task for many easier?
The three tools I typically recommend (their are more) that people use to clean between their teeth is:
- Floss piks
- Water pik
The idea is that we find a tool that you will pick up regularly and be comfortable using so you can make a positive impact on your dental care.
Today we will be focused on water pik tips that will make the job of cleaning between your teeth less of a hassle.
Why Flossing is Important
Flossing is extremely important, not flossing puts you at risk for two major issues.
One is cavities between your teeth, and two is gingivitis that can lead to periodontal disease.
Flossing removes plaque that can turn into calculus (tartar) which harbors bacteria. The bacteria left between the teeth will provoke a response from your immune system that causes inflammation and ultimately can cause bone loss around the teeth. (periodontal disease) Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss.
Having established the problems associated with not flossing.
Let’s take a look at how a water pik can help with getting this job done.
What’s A Water Pik?
A water pik is an oral home care appliance designed for dental home care use. It is basically a reservoir and a pump that shoots a stream of water between the teeth and around the gum line to remove plaque and food from the teeth.
It comes in the regular size that most of us are familiar with and it comes in a travel size.
A word about the travel size, it does work fine, but can be a bit of an annoyance due to the fact that it has a small reservoir. It tends to run out quickly and you need to fill it more than once to get the job done.
Something to consider if you’re thinking about purchasing one.
Water Piks And Braces
A water pik can be used by everyone, but their are certain situations when a water pik is the most effective tool to use.
The first being when someone is wearing braces.
It’s hard enough getting people to floss without braces, but when you have them, it makes an already unpleasant task that much more unpleasant. Having braces also makes it all that more important to get in their with the floss. It also makes the easier task of brushing that much more difficult as well.
Well fear not!! Water pik to the rescue. The easiest and most effective way to navigate the wires and brackets associated with braces is our friend the water pik. It will be messy when you first start using one, but you will learn to control the water better as you go and it will make your life easier!
If you or child have braces, please strongly consider having a water pik. It’s the right tool for the job. As we mention earlier many are not flossing daily already, so when braces are in the mix… well let’s just say it’s not happening for the majority. This is especially true when it comes to our kids.
Remember their is nothing more deflating than spending all that money and having all that discomfort with braces to gain those beautiful straight teeth, than once the braces come off having a mouth full of cavities and issues with the gum tissue.
Use that water pik!!
Water Pik – Other Situation When We Should Use One
Another situation when it is very important to use your water pik is when you have periodontal disease (bone loss around the teeth)
Deeper pockets around the teeth (that is a deeper space under the gum line between the teeth and gums) can over time make flossing ineffective. When their is too much bone loss around the tooth, floss will at some point not be able to get down where the tooth and bone meet.
If this area is left uncleaned, the deeper the pocket will get. Eventually leading to your teeth getting loose and possible loosing them.
Where the floss can’t reach the water pik can, so again in this situation also, Your water pik is the right tool for the job.
I also like recommending a water pik to those that have dexterity issues. It doesn’t take as much dexterity to use the water pik as it does to floss. (although for some even with the water pik dexterity problems are still an issue) For many it does help, if you have this issue it is something to consider.
Last but not least, it’s a great option if you just hate flossing so much that you never do it. Ideally you would water pik and floss, but if that’s not happening the water pik will still make a huge, positive impact, in your home care.
How To Use Your Water Pik
- Place on a flat surface and fill the reservoir with warm water.
- Put the tip in the handle
- Start with the lowest power setting and increase to a comfortable level ( you should feel it, but it should not hurt, if it does hurt, back the power down)
- Place the tip in your mouth and turn the power on.
- Close your lips enough so you don’t to have water splashing everywhere. Allow the water to run from your mouth to the sink.
- Angle the stream of water into the gum tissue and between the teeth. (think of it in terms of shooting the water under the gum tissue)
- When finished turn off and remove the tip.
A water pik is not needed by everyone but can be an option for all.
Braces, periodontal issues, or dexterity problems make the use of a water pik more important.
One last tip… If you store your water pik under the counter it will be out of site, out of mind and the chances of using it daily are slim. Please leave it out on your counter. Talking to many people over my dental career has taught me that one. For sure, those that leave it out use it!
Please see your local dentist regularly as home care is not enough to take care of all you dental needs. Your dental professional is trained to spot many things you may not be aware of.
Comments and questions are always welcome.
To your health!!!
To have a look at recommended Water Piks Click Here