What Is A Waterpik And How Does It Work?

Dr. Castilla with a patient

A good dental hygiene routine is important for all of us, but it’s especially crucial for kids who are undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces. Brushing and flossing regularly and effectively is essential for removing the plaque and food that can accumulate around braces, reducing unsightly white marks, cavities, and even gum disease. But if you ask any Castilla Orthodontics patient that’s currently in braces, they’ll tell you this kind of care comes with its own set of challenges! Flossing can be tricky at the best of times, but brackets, wires, and bands can add a new element of difficulty. The good news is there are multiple tools on the market that are designed to help make this an easier process. One of our favorites is an oral irrigator, such as a Waterpik.

When you use traditional flossing methods with braces, it involves guiding the floss underneath the archwire of each tooth, flossing that tooth, removing the floss, then repeating the process as you go. This can be time-consuming, especially at first, though it’s likely you’ll get better and faster at it as time goes on. Adding an oral irrigator to your dental routine can be a helpful tool if you’re having trouble getting the hang of flossing with braces, making it easier to keep your teeth clean and free of debris. Keep reading to learn more about what exactly a Waterpik is, and what it can do to help keep your mouth healthy!

What is a Waterpik?

An oral irrigator is a health appliance that’s been designed for dental care at home. It uses a combination of pressure and pulsation to release a targeted stream of water into the mouth, which helps to remove any stubborn plaque, food particles, and bacteria. The pulsating action also stimulates gum tissue, increasing the blood flow and keeping them healthy. While they should never take the place of regular flossing, oral irrigators are a great addition to your dental hygiene routine, and can also be used in between meals or whenever you want to freshen up your mouth!

Waterpik tends to be the most well-known brand of oral irrigator. All Waterpik water flossers include a motor with a pump, a water reservoir, and a special water flosser tip, though the sizes and features will vary. Waterpik flossers generally come with a special orthodontic tip, which is an innovative tapered brush that’s been designed to remove hard-to-reach plaque around brackets and wires. This tip should be replaced about every three months.

women with braces using water flosser

Common Waterpik models and features

There are multiple Waterpik designs available, including ones that are cordless and ones for the countertop, for your convenience. There are also a number of Waterpiks designed for children.

Some of their most popular models include:

  • Complete Care WP-900: You’ll be able to save on counter space and power outlets with this convenient model that’s a water flosser and sonic toothbrush in one.
  • Ultra WP-100: For the ultimate in water flossing performance, the compact Ultra features ten pressure settings, a covered reservoir with tip storage, and six unique tips.
  • Aquarius Professional WP-660: The Aquarius is one of the most advanced water flossers available, and includes on/off water control on the handle, an LED information panel, seven tips, and a one-minute timer with a 30-second pacer. This model also features new pulse-modulation technology to provide maximum plaque removal in Floss Mode and enhanced gum stimulation in the Hydro-Pulse Massage Mode.
  • Water Flosser For Kids WP-260: This flosser is made for children ages six and above, and features an extra safe, kid-proof electrical design. There are easy fingertip controls on the On/Off switch and the Pressure Control System, and a reservoir that can be used as a cover to keep the unit clean, all of which are covered under a two-year warranty.
  • Cordless Plus Professional WP-440: For orthodontic patients on the go, this rechargeable unit is a great choice. It also comes with the Nano-Sonic toothbrush.
  • Traveler Water Flosser WP-300: The Traveler has a compact design that is ideal for smaller bathrooms and frequent travel. It also features global voltage compatibility for easy use in any country around the world, four tips, a pressure control system, and a premium travel case.

What are the benefits of using a Waterpik?

When used correctly, Waterpiks can be a great addition to your regular daily dental routine. For patients undergoing orthodontic treatment, water flossers may provide additional benefits that regular brushing and flossing alone can’t match, such as:

Removing plaque more effectively

Although your toothbrush does a pretty good job of removing this plaque, it doesn’t always reach the areas in between the teeth to remove the bacteria that can lurk there. The longer these spaces host bacteria and plaque, the higher your risk for developing complications like cavities and inflamed or infected gums. Multiple studies have shown that a Waterpik is more effective at removing plaque than string floss alone.

Helping to treat gingivitis

Gum disease is the inflammation or soreness of the gums caused by the bacteria in plaque infecting them. Gingivitis is the mildest form of this, causing some redness, inflammation, and slight bleeding. The best way to deal with gingivitis is to thoroughly clean away plaque every day by brushing, flossing, and using an oral irrigator. This can both treat and reverse gingivitis.

Making it easier to clean implants, bridges, crowns, and braces

The areas under and around implants, bridges, crowns, and braces are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. It is especially vital for dental implant and orthodontic patients to maintain excellent oral hygiene, as any form of active gum disease can interrupt or delay treatment. The combined effect of water pressure and pulsation from a Waterpik is an effective method for ensuring the area around your orthodontic hardware and implants, bridges, or crowns is thoroughly cleaned and free of debris.

Dr. Castilla talking to a patient

Keeping your smile sparkling clean with Castilla Orthodontics

When used correctly, as a compliment to and not in place of regular flossing, a Waterpik can help keep your braces and teeth squeaky clean. If you are in Salem or the surrounding communities and want more information on how Waterpiks can assist in your orthodontic treatment, get in touch with us today! Dr. Castilla will even be happy to recommend a water flosser for you based on your particular needs. We’re here to help you achieve a straight, sparkling smile any way we can!