As you were likely told as a child, good oral hygiene is extremely important. What you may not know, however, is that poor oral hygiene is not only a cause of tooth decay but also strongly linked with very serious diseases.
It’s linked to heart disease and is thought to be related to respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and even diseases which affect the brain, such as dementia.
If you find that you don’t floss as much as your dentist advises, you are not alone. In a recent study, it was found that only half of Americans floss daily, but 18.5% do not floss at all.
If you are not looking after your teeth well, it won’t be long before you get a stern telling off from your dentist and start needing fillings, or your risk your teeth decaying and falling out.
But realistically, flossing is a pain. It takes time, and it can hurt. It can cause damage to your gum tissues if you are too vigorous or do not do it properly.
Thankfully, there is an easier option – water flossing!
A water flosser is a device which jets a thin flow of water at your teeth or gums, removing food debris and plaque. It is also sometimes called a water pick or oral irrigator. They can be battery or mains-powered, and require a feed of water, either straight from the tap or a reservoir.
Water flossers are very easy to use. There are three main types to choose from, and the way you prepare them for use is slightly different.
They are available in portable, countertop or faucet-fed designs. Each model will vary slightly, but here are the basics of using a water flosser:
- Select your tip and connect it to the device.
- Supply the water source. This can be by connecting it to the cold water tap or filling the reservoir with water. If you have sensitive teeth, use lukewarm water instead of cold.
- Select the lowest pressure setting and place the tip in your mouth. We recommend leaning over the sink now!
- Turn the device on. You can close your lips to prevent the water splashing but do allow the water to drain out into the sink.
- Direct the water at your gum line and the areas between your teeth, moving it along so that your whole mouth is treated.
- Once you are done, turn off the device, remove the tip and drain any water remaining in the reservoir.
- Remember to clean your water flosser after every session, to ensure it remains hygienic.
If you prefer, you can occasionally use mouthwash in your water flosser. However, if you do choose to use mouthwash, it is important to remember that it will not have the same antibacterial benefits if you dilute it with water, so it is best to use it neat.
What Are The Different Types Of Water Flosser
Countertop – the largest and heaviest option. It has a reservoir which sits on the counter in your bathroom. This type of water flosser needs a socket nearby for a power source and therefore also has a power chord. You can easily alter water pressure. It is a great option if you only want to use a water flosser at home, and also for those of you who do not have strong water pressure in your home.
Portable – the smallest option. These will mostly be battery powered and rechargeable. They are perfect if you are regularly on the move and pack they a surprising amount of power for such a small device. They are small and slim and will neatly fit into your luggage. They enable you to water floss regardless of where you are or what voltage/socket you have access to. They are also a great option for those who do not have much space at home.
Faucet-fed – perfect for those who do not have much bathroom space. Faucet-fed flossers attach directly to your tap and therefore use the water pressure straight from your faucet. This means they don’t require electric power, so you don’t need a power source nearly and are also great because you don’t need to refill the reservoir. You can also easily control the water pressure by adjusting the tap.
A subset of faucet-fed flossers is a shower flosser. This type of flosser connects to your shower instead of your sink tap. It has the same benefits of faucet-fed flossers and eliminates the risk of making a mess.
If you would like to try a water flosser, click to find out more about the water flossers we tested.
How To Use A Water Flosser With Braces
Among the many other benefits of water flossing, which you can see here, a water flosser is a perfect option if you have braces, as regular flossing is just about impossible. You can get right behind the wire to remove that stubborn food debris and keep your smile sparkling. Most water flossers will have a tip which is perfect for braces. A tip which has a small brush is ideal.
You can set up and use your water flosser the same as you would if you didn’t have braces, as detailed above. Always start with the pressure low and then increase it gradually as needed. Start with your back teeth, beginning at the gum line and working around between your teeth and around the braces. It is simple to do and very fast but produces excellent results. There are many reasons to choose water flossing over string floss, which you can read here.
Using A Water Flosser Without Making A Mess
While you may make a bit of a mess when you first start water flossing, you will soon get the hang of it and get used to controlling the water pressure. Always start out with the lowest pressure even if you don’t have sensitive teeth, then increase the pressure gradually. You can also close your lips around the tip to prevent the water from splashing back out, but you will need to let the water escape too! Ideally, lean over a sink when you use your water flosser. This will enable you to let the water and debris drip out as you floss.
How Often Should I Use A Water Flosser?
In general, whether you use dental floss or water, dentists recommend that you floss your teeth daily. Water flossing takes hardly any time, so to maintain optimal oral health we recommend using a water flosser every day, alongside brushing twice daily. Click to find out more about how often you should use a water flosser.
You should now have more of an understanding of water flossers and how to use them. If you are interested in purchasing one, take a look at our water flosser reviews we have written on what we believe are the best water flossers around.