Using a Waterpik® for braces is absolutely safe! A water flosser can be an excellent tool to help you get in those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies to keep your teeth sparkling clean. However, our Shorewood and Naperville braces patients sometimes wonder, can a waterpik replace flossing with braces? The answers is, no. You’ll need to use your waterpik in addition to flossing. To a lot of patients, taking this extra oral hygiene step is completely worth it because it really helps and leaves you with super clean, healthy teeth and gums.
What is a Waterpik?
Waterpik is actually a brand of water flosser. It’s sort of like how Ziploc® has become eponymous with all plastic baggies or some people call all types of tissues a Kleenex®. A water flosser, also referred to as a powered interdental cleaner if you want to get really technical, is a handheld device comprised of a reservoir filled with water. It also has a motor and a pump that create a stream of pressurized water to push the water out of the reservoir through the tip and into your mouth. The water streams through your teeth and under your gums and is powerful enough to get rid of food particles, plaque and bacteria. It also stimulates your gums to improve their health. The process is comfortable and simple once you get the hang of it.
The Benefits of Using a Waterpik for Braces
As we said before, a waterpik is not a substitute for flossing. The water doesn’t penetrate as well as floss does, especially between crowded teeth. That doesn’t mean, however, that water flossers don’t serve a purpose and have a host of benefits. Some of the reasons we often recommend using a waterpik for braces are:
- A water flosser is excellent for helping dislodge pieces of food that get stuck under wires or in tight spaces in your mouth.
- The water pulsates, which massages the gum tissue, increasing circulation.
- Waterpiks are effective for cleaning under the gum line.
- A study published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics found that a water flosser with a specialized orthodontic jet tip helped reduce plaque and bleeding gums in teenagers with braces.
- Using a waterpik for braces gives you extra insurance that you’re eliminating plaque as best as you possibly can. Since it can be more difficult to clean around brackets and floss under wires, you can experience plaque build up, which, in turn, can eventually lead to cavities and gum disease. Anything you can do to wash away plaque is a bonus, especially since you’ll want your new smile to be healthy on all levels.
How to Use a Waterpik With Braces
There are a variety of different waterpik tips, however, studies suggest a specialized orthodontic tip is the most effective for braces patients. Here is how to use a waterpik with braces step by step:
- Adjust the pressure. One of the best waterpik tips is to start at low pressure until you get used to the sensation. Once you have the pressure where you want it, lean over so your mouth is over the sink and put the tip of the water flosser in your mouth.
- Turn your waterpik unit on. Close your lips to keep the water from splashing and let it flow from your mouth into the sink.
- Start at your back teeth. Point the tip towards your gum line. Lightly brush in between your teeth, around your bracket and under your wire before moving on to the next tooth.
- Use your waterpik once a day. You’ll also want to floss with braces once daily using an orthodontic flosser or a product such as Super Floss. Brush using fluoride toothpaste and an electric toothbrush in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed.
What’s the Best Waterpik for Braces?
When it comes to the best waterpik for braces, opt for one that has the American Dental Association’s seal of approval. However, it’s less about the actual tool and more about the waterpik tips. A specialized orthodontic tip has a tapered brush and will give you the best results because it’s designed especially for cleaning between and around fixed orthodontic appliances like braces. Replace your tip every three months.
Now that you know the ins and outs of using a waterpik for braces, are you ready to get a smile you love? Book a consultation with a Naperville or Shorewood orthodontist at Innovative Orthodontic Centers today!