Waterpik Facts: Why Everyone Should Use One

© 2015 by Kate Parker, RDH, BS-DH, RF

waterpik factsI have had many skeptical patients, but they completely transform when they see the results a Waterpik makes on their oral health

There is nothing I am more passionate about than Waterpiks for natural oral health! I have seen hundreds of patients transform their lives, their health, and their confidence simply by the use of a Waterpik water flosser on a daily basis. They're simple, easy to use, and highly effective. If there is one thing you choose to do for your oral health, purchasing and using a Waterpik is by far the best overall choice.

I have had many skeptical patients in my day, but they completely transform when they see the results a Waterpik makes on their oral health in just a few days. My toughest patient had severe gum disease (advanced periodontitis), hated going to the dentist, and was very skeptical that something so simple could make a difference. After 8 appointments, I finally convinced him to try a Waterpik. The next visit, I showed him objective evidence of his decreased periodontal pocket depths, his gums no longer bled, his tissues were healed and firm, and his periodontitis went into a "stable" category for the first time in his adult life. He raved to me about how I changed his life for the better.

But I didn't really change his life. I just did what I do best (clinical dental hygiene), and recommended a Waterpik at each appointment to help him make a move into dental health. He did the rest! I have to say that the change I witnessed in this patient changed me as well. He actually *wanted* to come to the dentist to show off his dental health! He came in every two weeks for months just to make sure it was "still working out well." And of course it was. He changed from a pessimistic skeptic to a Waterpik and dental health enthusiast. He went from going to the dentist once a decade to looking forward to his visits and all the good news. And it is always good news. No matter what your state of dental health, adding a Waterpik into your daily routine will bring positive results.

What Is A Waterpik?

what is a waterpikA Waterpik is a name brand water flosser that's widely available in the US and throughout the world

A Waterpik is a name brand water flosser that's widely available in the US and throughout the world. In essence it is a small hand-held or counter unit that is filled with warm water. Water pulses out of a specialized tip that you then trace around your gum line in a specified pattern.

While many water flossers are on the market, only Waterpiks have been scientifically proven to remove 99.9% of gingival (gum line) plaque. This is due to the pulse-rate of the water coming out of the Waterpik flosser tip. While water flossers generally shoot water out of flosser tips, Waterpiks pulse the water in such a way as to "bust up" and remove plaque with clincially-proven results that far surpass other water flossers.

While there is a short learning curve, they are generally accessible to all ages, including the young and geriatric populations, people suffering from Parkinson's and other tremor-related diseases, and even the blind. The Waterpik is used by "feel" rather than by sight. This means that almost everyone can learn to use them effectively if they have the ability to grasp the large handle. 

How Do Waterpiks Improve Oral Health?

how do waterpiks improve oral healthWaterpiks pulse water in such a way as to completely remove plaque, while at the same time massaging the gum tissues, drawing circulating blood flow to the area

Plaque bacterial colonies, when left undisturbed, begin to break down the collagen in gum tissue, causing open lesions that bleed when touched (gingivitis.) When this progresses over time, tissues become flabby, bone loss occurs, and the supportive structures surrounding the teeth (gums, bone, ligaments) begin to die. This is called periodontitis. While gingivitis is reversible, periodontitis cannot be reversed, but only maintained.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance to keep the gum line clear of plaque biofilm on a daily basis. This is probably the most important, as well as the most overlooked, aspect of dental health and hygiene. In fact it is more important to have gum health than tooth health, as gum disease results in the absolute loss of supporting structures, ending in the exfoliation (complete loss) of teeth.

Waterpiks pulse water in such a way as to completely remove plaque, while at the same time massaging the gum tissues, drawing circulating blood flow to the area. In essence, they remove the source of disease (plaque bacterial colonies) very effectively and stimulate the tissues to heal. In addition, different flosser tips are great for different applications. For example, the pikpocket is designed to reach deep under the gum line to flush bacteria from the periodontal pockets. The orthodontic tip works wonders around dental braces.

Waterpiks Vs. String Floss

waterpiks vs string floss

String dental floss has been in popular use for almost 200 years. In all that time, only about 1 in 100 of my patients flosses correctly and effectively; that is 1% or even less! The problem is that string floss is difficult to use, is very technique-sensitive, and usually ends up doing more harm than good due to its being used incorrectly.

String floss is effective at two things: removing plaque precisely at the contact points between the teeth (where the teeth touch each other), and removing food trapped between the contacts. A Waterpik cannot get between the contact points (where cavities often form), and therefore string floss is effective for this purpose.

With that said, string floss is generally ineffective at the removal of plaque from the gum line, in the periodontal pockets surrounding the teeth, and even interproximally (the spaces between the teeth.) String floss does not have the ability to remove plaque from any of these areas effectively. Waterpiks have been clinically proven to remove up to 50% more plaque than string floss, and up to 99.9% of all plaque that it comes in contact with. As noted above, the only place Waterpiks cannot reach is the 1-3mm of space where the teeth actually touch.

How To Use A Waterpik Effectively

Always move from the posterior to the anterior (back teeth to front teeth)

Unlike using string dental floss, Waterpiks are very intuitive, ergonomic, and easy to use. As with anything new there's a slight learning curve. Many of my patients suffer irreparable harm to their teeth and gums from using dental floss incorrectly. Unlike string floss, it's virtually impossible to cause harm to the gums and teeth by using a Waterpik. 

Steps to using a Waterpik:

  1. Fill the water reservoir with *warm* water
  2. Place the tip of the flosser in the handle
  3. Place tip into your mouth, and lean over the sink
  4. Start in the posterior (back teeth)
  5. Turn the unit on, starting with a low setting
  6. Increase the setting to whatever's comfortable for your gum tissues
  7. Trace your gum line from the back teeth to the front teeth on each side (left, right, inside, outside) 
  8. Pause a second or two between teeth
  9. When reservoir is empty, remove flosser tip and let reservoir air out

Waterpik Models

waterpik modelsThere's a Waterpik model for everyone
  • Counter top - (US$45-59) these models are designed to permanently sit on your counter top, allowing for easy access. Good for families, as the water reservoir is larger
  • Kids - (US$35-49) small, compact counter top model made just for kids 6+. Smaller features make it easy for kids to handle. Great for use around dental braces
  • Cordless - (US$37-69) travel model or for those who can't stand cords. Smaller, hand-held unit with smaller water reservoir, but easily portable
  • Designer - (US$89) counter top model in a variety of colors like black, white, teal, and pink
  • Specialty - (US$69) this range includes a showerpik (a Waterpik for use in the shower) and also a smaller counter top version for travel or smaller bathrooms
  • Complete care - (US$99) a counter top Waterpik and sonic toothbrush all in one convenient package. Saves space and electric plugs

Don't Forget The Specialized Tips

Where To Buy A Waterpik

  • Albertsons
  • Amazon
  • Army Airforce Exchange
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Best Buy
  • CVS
  • Drugstore.com
  • Fred Meyer
  • Giant Foods
  • Kmart
  • Kohls
  • Krogers
  • Longs Drug Stores
  • Meijer
  • Rite Aid
  • Target
  • Walgreens
  • Wal-Mart
  • Waterpik Online Store

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