Water Pik Tips – Using It Right Makes All The Difference

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:

  1. Floss
  2. Floss piks
  3. 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

  1. Place on a flat surface and fill the reservoir with warm water.
  2. Put the tip in the handle
  3. 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)
  4. Place the tip in your mouth and turn the power on.
  5. Close your lips enough so you don’t to have water splashing everywhere. Allow the water to run from your mouth to the sink.
  6. 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)
  7. 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!!!

Walt RDH

To have a look at recommended Water Piks Click Here


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8 thoughts on “Water Pik Tips – Using It Right Makes All The Difference

  1. Walt,

    Great article. Thanks for the information. I wish I had been taught long ago about flossing, and about using a Waterpik (water pick?). I now do both and never go to bed without doing a thorough job.

    • Fantastic Rick, happy you stopped by. Glad you were able to take away something useful from the post. Most people don’t do both, but doing both is ideal. That kind of effort always pays off! Thanks for spending some time here.

  2. Hey Walt,
    I wonder why our dentist did not ever mention this to us. This could help my family a lot. My daughter has braces and she regularly uses floss but sometimes she gets annoyed by how difficult to get that floss in there with those braces. I could use this too since I have a wisdom tooth at the very back end of my molar which makes it difficult to reach using floss. Thanks for the informative read.

    • The two reasons you mentioned above are perfect situation to use one with. It will be a great help in raising your home care. Especially with your daughters braces, it will take less time and do a better job!

  3. I do try to floss daily, but at times get lazy at it. Water pik really sounds great, recently I have read lots of great feedback about using this method to clean in between the teeth.
    My question is: is the water jet strong enough to dislodge stuff like tartar? If it is too strong, will it injure the gum, cause it to weaken or something?
    Pardon my ignorance on this.

    • Not Ignorance, it’s a great question! The water pik will not dislodge tartar. Tartar or calculus is calcified plaque. Once it hardens like that you need your hygienist to get it off. The water piks job is to get the plaque daily while its still soft and easy to remove. That’s why being consistent with your home care is important.
      As for damaging the tissue, it could in some cases. If the tissue is thin and very swollen due to excessive inflammation it could cause problems. I always encourage everyone to talk with there hygienist or dentist they would let you know if that was a problem. It’s a problem for only a few. There is a power setting on the water pik. You should feel it, but not be recoiling in pain while using it. Adjust it accordingly. Thanks for such a great question. I hope this was some help.

  4. Wow! I really enjoyed the read! Thank you for the valuable info. Water Pik sounds like a great idea. I’d like to give it a try, but, would like to know a little bit more regarding this product… Is this appliance only for a personal use, or could be for a family use, as well? I would also like to know its price.

    Thanks again,

    • Hi Vesna, it can be used for your family. Most units come with multiple tips you change out when different family members use it.
      Price varies 50$ to 100$, most are in the 60 to 75 range.
      I’ll send you some specific info next week, I’m away with the family and have limited internet access this week. I’m answering off my phone as were in town today. Should be back sometime next weekend.
      Have an awsome week!!

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