What Is a Water Flosser And How Does It Work?

Whether you’re a new or experienced orthodontic patient with Krieger Orthodontics, chances are good that you’re already aware of how important it is for you to maintain a good dental hygiene routine while you’re in braces. The brackets, wires, and bands can trap food particles, making it easier for bacteria and plaque to get a foothold and flourish. These components also create nooks and crannies that can make it tricky to clean your teeth effectively, increasing your chance of developing cavities, tooth decay, and even gum disease if left untreated. Brushing and flossing regularly are absolutely essential in avoiding any complications with your treatment, but flossing especially can be challenging when you’re wearing braces. Fortunately, there are a number of products available that have been designed specifically to help orthodontic patients like you keep your teeth clean and healthy with far less frustration!

One of these tools is an oral irrigator, sometimes referred to as a water flosser. Although flossing regularly and correctly with dental floss is the best way to remove sticky plaque, water flossers can help provide a more effective cleaning, particularly for patients wearing braces. You’ve likely experienced how time-consuming traditional flossing with braces can be at first. To do it correctly, you must guide the floss underneath the archwire of each tooth, floss, remove, then repeat throughout your mouth. The good news is, you’ll get better and faster at this process with practice, but an oral irrigator can be very helpful while you’re getting the hang of things! Keep reading below to learn a little more about what exactly a water flosser is, how it works, and how it can make it easier to keep your smile squeaky clean while you’re in braces.

What is a water flosser?

A water flossers is an oral health appliance designed to provide extra dental care at home. It does this by using a combination of pressure and pulsation to release a targeted stream of water into the mouth, which helps to remove plaque, food particles, and bacteria. The pulsating action also beneficially stimulates the gum tissue. Water flossers that are made to use specifically with braces come with a special orthodontic tip whose tapered design helps remove plaque from around the brackets and wires. The tip will need to be replaced about as often as you would your manual toothbrush, so roughly every three months or so.

As we’ve previously mentioned, flossing regularly and correctly is especially important for orthodontic patients in braces. This is thanks in large part to how easy it is for stray food particles to get caught in the tiny crevices around the brackets. When you don’t thoroughly floss at least once a day, bacteria and plaque are able to build up and multiply, increasing your risk for cavities and other oral issues. While a water flosser should never replace regular flossing, it can be very effective at getting rid of any missed food debris and plaque when used as part of your nightly dental hygiene routine. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that this method is over 50% more effective at reducing gingivitis, 2x as effective at reducing gingival bleeding, and almost 30% more effective at removing plaque than just using dental floss. That’s not too shabby for a pressurized stream of water!

How does a water flosser work?

One of the best things about a water flosser is how simple they are for something that’s so effective. Once you get into a good rhythm, water flossers couldn’t be easier to use. Once you’ve chosen your preferred model, the steps below will help you to get the most out of it.

Fill the reservoir with warm water and place it firmly on the base. Select your desired orthodontic tip and click it into the handle. If this is the first time you’ve used the flosser, you’ll want to set the pressure control dial to high and point the tip into the sink. Turn it on until the water begins flowing, then turn it back off again. This will help you avoid getting water everywhere until you get used to the flow.

Begin with the lowest pressure setting available. Lean over the sink, place the tip in your mouth, and turn the unit on. Let the water flow from your mouth into the sink, making sure your lips are closed to prevent splashing.

Move the tip of the water flosser all along your teeth, gums, and the gum line until you feel like they are squeaky clean. When you’re finished, turn the unit off and use the eject button to remove the tip.

And there you have it! There’s nothing complicated or complex about using a water flosser to achieve a deeper, more efficient cleaning. That’s part of why we love them, and recommend them frequently!

Keep your smile shining bright with Krieger Orthodontics

Here at Krieger Orthodontics, we want to make your orthodontic journey as rewarding and fun as possible. We’re all about finding the little things that make the process easier for you as we work to straighten your smile! When it comes to sticky plaque and bacteria, water flossers are an excellent way to stop any bad stuff in its tracks before it can set up shop in the spaces of your brackets and wires. The pulsating action also massages and stimulate your gums, giving them a healthy boost of increased blood flow. When you use an oral irrigator for even one minute every day, it can help reduce the total amount of bacteria present and improve your overall oral health.

Water flossers can be a helpful addition to your daily dental hygiene routine. There are a number of models available, and if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all the choices, Dr. Krieger is happy to recommend one for you based on your particular orthodontics needs. Keep in mind that whatever type of water flosser you choose, it should be used with your regular dental floss, not in place of it. Shortcuts simply don’t pay off when it comes to straightening your smile!

If you’re in the Carrollton, Plano, or Lewisville area, and would like more information on how oral irrigators can help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy while you’re in braces, get in touch with one of our three offices today!  Our talented team is here to help you successfully complete your orthodontic treatment, and give you the beautifully aligned smile you’ve always wanted!