Today, we’re discussing the water flosser, also known as interdental cleaner, interdental irrigator, or water jet.
A water irrigation tool oscillates a stream of water through a small, targeted tube to shoot out fragments of food and plaque from around and between teeth. To use it, you place the tube into your mouth, turn it on, and then lean over the sink with your mouth slightly open to let the water dribble out as you direct the stream of shooting water around the gumline, stopping momentarily at each gap between adjoining teeth.
There have been over 65 studies that have substantiated the safety and efficacy of water flossing for calculus reduction, plaque biofilm removal, bleeding reduction, inflammation reduction, and gingivitis care.
To answer this question, communicate with Dr. Ratcliff to obtain an oral care treatment plan that factors in tooth and gum health, physical dexterity, and lifestyle.
The following elements may influence whether or not Dr. Ratcliff advises you to provide an interdental irrigation device for your child
- Braces or other orthodontic appliances
- A physical limitation that decreases ability to brush and/or floss
- Periodontal disease
- Gums that bleed when flossing
- Aversion to flossing
- Sensitive teeth
The warm and friendly team at Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry would love to help your child learn the best processes for keeping gums pink and healthy and firmly attached to cavity-free teeth.
Here’s some background on the water flosser: The first water-shooting device for cleaning between teeth was invented in the early 1960’s by Colorado dentist Dr. Gerald Moyer and John Mattingly, a hydraulics engineer. The device is now known by the brand name Waterpik, though many people use the term generically. Since its creation, other companies have entered the market with similar products. (Note: Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry does not necessarily endorse any particular brand.)
Jacquelyn L. Fried, RDH, MS, “Interdental Cleansing,” The American Dental Hygienist Association, https://www.adha.org/resources-docs/7123_Waterpik_Irrigation.pdf, accessed March 10, 2017
Carol A. Jahn, RDH, MS, “The Water Flosser: Your Tool For Optimal Oral Health,” https://www.waterpik.com/oral-health/pro/education/pdf/Waterpik_WaterFlosser_ContinuingEducation.pdf, accessed March 10, 2017
“Water Flossing,” MouthHealthy (ADA), https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/w/water-flossers, accessed March 10, 2017