It’s important to clean between your teeth every day to remove food debris and plaque. Those substances can all build up in those tight spaces where your brush just can’t access. You may be familiar with standard dental floss, and if it’s working well for you and your gums don’t bleed, it’s fine to stick with that method.

But if you don’t like working with regular floss, your gums bleed, or you have braces, you may want to try water flossers instead. Also known as oral irrigators or dental water jets, water flossers are devices that aim a stream of water at your teeth. They can do wonders for removing food particles between your teeth as well as sticky plaque.

Water flossers can be used as part of your regular teeth cleaning routine every night, in conjunction with or in place of regular flossing. Ask your hygienist at your next six-month cleaning in Berkeley which water flossers they recommend.

Who Can Benefit From Water Flossers?

Water flossers can be easier to use for those with orthodontics or dental work that make the use of standard dental floss difficult. They can also be great for those with fine motor or mobility challenges. They’re also ideal for those who simply don’t like the feeling of dental floss between their teeth. And finally, individuals who are more prone to getting food stuck in their teeth, whether due to genetics, bridges, or implants, can benefit from these devices.

If you do use a water flosser, don’t share it with anyone else in your household, as this could increase your risk of contamination with bacteria, says the Mayo Clinic. Think of it as a toothbrush – you wouldn’t share that, right?

Benefits of Using a Water Flosser

There are many reasons why people can benefit from using a water flosser. If you prefer water flossing over picks or string floss, water flossing offers an easier method of teeth protection against plaque and bacteria.

Water flossers:

  • Remove more plaque than traditional floss
  • Are gentler on gum tissue
  • Are easy to use
  • Are great for patients undergoing orthodontic treatment (i.e., braces)
  • Will not catch on sharp edges or become stuck in your teeth
  • Give you a deeper clean than traditional dental floss
  • Don’t require the use of floss threaders
  • Are easy to use with dental implants
  • Have interchangeable tips
  • Come in a variety of styles

When choosing the best water flosser for you, consider a few factors like:

  • Reservoir capacity
  • Battery Life
  • Ease of Use
  • Pressure
  • Fully Equipped Set or Separate
  • Budget

How to Use a Water Flosser

There are many water flossers on the market today. Once you have selected one that you like, you may wonder: how do I use it? Each model may be slightly different, but here are some general guidelines.

  1. Supply the water source — Connect the water flosser to the tap or fill the reservoir with lukewarm water.
  2. Placement — Place the nozzle in your mouth, holding the irrigator away from your teeth and gums. Don’t place it directly against them. Start with the molars in the back of the mouth. You may want to lean over the sink do you don’t get water everywhere.
  3. Select the pressure setting and turn it on — Depending on the model, this will be either in the form of a button or a dial that you can use to adjust the water pressure. It’s best to start off on the lowest pressure setting, slowly working your way up. Close your lips to prevent splashing.
  4. Follow the gum line — Direct the water at the gum line and the areas between your teeth. Aim at the top of the tooth, baseline of the gums, and the spaces between each tooth. Hold for about two seconds on each area, repeating this on the inside and outside of your teeth. The whole thing should take two minutes or so.
  5. Empty the reservoir — When done, turn off the device, then remove the nozzle. Drain the remaining water. Don’t leave stale water in the reservoir, as it can encourage the growth of bacteria.
  6. Clean the device — Rinse and clean the reservoir after every session. Each model will have its own cleaning instructions.

Now that you know how to use a water flosser, you can get going on this fun and effective way to keep your teeth clean.

Schedule Your Six-Month Cleaning at Ashby Dental in Elmwood

At your next six-month cleaning, ask your hygienist whether a water flosser would be right for you. Book your appointment today at (510) 549-0133. We are located at 2507 Ashby Ave. in Berkeley, CA, open Monday to Thursday, 8am to 4pm, and Fridays, 8am to 1pm, for your convenience.