What is a Waterpik?
Recently there has been some exciting news. As of February 21st, 2017 the WaterPik water flosser was the first powered interdental cleaner to earn the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. While that may not seem like a big deal, the ADA is notoriously stingy to whom they bestow this approval. They require rigorous clinical studies, scientific data, and laboratory testing to meet the ADA’s requirements for safety and efficacy.
First off – “Doc, what’s the point of a WaterPik”?
WaterPiks are an adjunct to flossing, for helping to clean out the space in between teeth. They do a great job of flushing out food and debris from between teeth, under braces/wires, and especially under fixed bridges. While they are not a complete replacement for flossing – they do serve as a great tool for people that do not regularly floss, floss incorrectly, or have dexterity issues that prevent them from being able to floss properly.
The reason that people need to clean between their teeth is due to the fact that food trapped in between can lead to periodontal disease. Gum tissue usually has a shallow pocket between 1-3 millimeters immediately adjacent to teeth. If bacteria in plaque and calculus is allowed to colonize, then the immune response kicks in to fight it. Usually that means redness and swelling to the gum tissue that is affected. The swollen gums create pockets that are 4-5mm deep, allowing the bacteria to grow and produce toxins that break tissue down even further. If this process continues unabated the next steps are bone loss and continued destruction of soft tissue.
Perfect for people that hate flossing…
Water flossers like the WaterPik are perfect for people that hate flossing. WaterPiks used to have a basin with a cord attached to the handpiece, taking up a bunch of counter space. The new models are handheld and waterproof, which most people will bring in the shower with them for 30-60 seconds to clean in between their teeth. If you have any questions about WaterPiks please feel free to ask next time you are in the office. We would be happy to show you one of our display units and give you any information you might want.